May
31

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Strange Juxtapositions

nicklebyUpon reflection I find that I’ve been poised between the old and the new a lot in the last few days. For instance, while a passenger on the way to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, I was reading Nicholas Nickleby. Immediately after finishing Nicholas Nickleby I started reading some hard boiled detective short stories from several omnibuses I’ve acquired.

And, of course, I just finished the rough draft of one novel and am getting ready to start work on the slightly less new one I finished a draft of a few months back.

Maybe I could find this kind of old and new parallel every week if I tried, but it struck me as curious. I mean, I guess any Dickens is pretty old, but not as old as the Reniassance, and that the short stories I was reading were at least 50 years old, but not as old as Nicholas Nickelby, so maybe the problem is I’m reading nothing new.

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May
27

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Writing Flurries

hulk computerI finished the rough draft of a new novel, the second in the sequence of three I’m developing. I used the same process I used to write the new sections of the first novel (of this new trilogy) and it worked even better this time:

  1. First, know the characters and what they want
  2. Outline the events I’m most interested in seeing, arising from clashing character motivation
  3. Sketch out the arcs (this book has two major POV and three minor)
  4. Pick an arc and start drafting.

I started my novel career by writing books  deliberately drafted to sound as though one person were sharing a story with you, the listener. It’s been a bit of a shift to write novels with multiple points of view, but I’ve gotten more and more practiced with it.  Read More

May
23

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Madison and Village Lights

Village LightsTwo Thursdays ago my wife and I headed over to Madison Indiana, where she had a work conference. My son, just finished with his first year of college, tagged along, and while my wife was busy conferencing, the first born and I wandered around the little community.

It was only our second visit and I’d already forgotten just how lovely the main portions of it are. Madison happens to have the largest contiguous National Historic Landmark in the United States — meaning 133 blocks of beautiful, well preserved older buildings. They’re an architectural feast for the eyes, and then there’s the Ohio River just a few blocks south of the downtown, and the steep hills with beautiful greenery ascending to the north and south. A large state park with stunning views, Clifty Falls, provides a lot of great hiking trails as well as campgrounds and even an expansive hotel if you want to come back and relax after you’ve been roughing it in the wilds.

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May
20

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Tough Chicken

james taylor quartetSometimes I’m driving along listening to the radio, and something incredible comes on. The older I get, the less it happens, possibly because I’ve been introduced to more music and possibly because the radio in our primary vehicle usually identifies the music being played even if the disc jockey doesn’t.

Some sixteen years ago, long before we had ANY vehicles with fancy displays, I was driving around Topeka Kansas and for some reason I had the radio on an unfamiliar station. Out from the speakers rolled this skipping, melodic jazz base line. It was enough to get my head nodding instantly. After the organ and drums kicked in the flute arrived and owned the song with a wailing ear worm of a melody.

After the song was over it was still a few minutes from home, but I recall walking into the house, flipping open the phone book  and calling the radio station to politely inquire what that great song was with the lead flute part.

And the disc jockey introduced me to “Tough Chicken” by the James Taylor Quintet, off of the CD Message from the Godfather. I liked the song so much I purchased the CD (again, long before downloading days). The CD is good, although nothing else on it never thrilled me as much as this number. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and maybe you’ll do what I never did and track down more of the band’s music. Hmm…. I see they have numerous additional CDs…

May
18

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Writing Away

Front 2Once again, you’d be right in thinking that lack of posts means that I’m nose to the grind stone. I’m hoping to get a rough draft of the newest book done before the end of the month, and I think I’ll make it. In this case, some sections are very rough — little more than a few stage directions and some dialogue. Oddly enough, even writing this way sometimes things go slow. For the last few days, for example, it’s been like pulling teeth to get scenes written. On the other hand, once I rough out the scene, I know it’s mostly right — after years of trial and error I am finally better at NOT writing a detailed scene which will later be cut.

Also, in the mornings before I wake the family, when I usually write blog posts, I’ve been playing Lock ‘N Load Tactical: Heroes of Normandy, a World War II tactical board game. Even though it’s a two person game I’ve been having a lot of fun running it against myself. It deserves a post on its own, and I’ll probably get to that later this week.

I wish I could tell you when the newest series will debut. The first book has some great feedback from my beta readers that I’m dying to implement, but I’m really waiting to hear from editorial before I do anything. When I finish this second book, though, I’ll probably place it on the window sill to cool a little and go back and edit book one for a couple of weeks. Then, fingers crossed, I can whip book two into shape and hopefully write and revise book three before the end of the year.

At some point there I hope to know when it will be in print, which is news I’ll happily share with you.

Writing

More Drafting Thoughts

Friday, April 22, 2016

In writing about rough drafts the other day I realized that I breezed over an important step — outlining. I’ve discussed outlining on the site before (just search through my Writing…

Rough Drafts

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I’ve continued to experiment with rough draft methods. The goal is, naturally, to get the rough draft close so that you make as few passes as possible between rough and…

House Rules

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

If you’re not a tabletop gamer or have no interest in tabletop gaming you should read no further unless you want to be bored or roll your eyes….

Hard Writing Lessons 6 – Head Games

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I’ve been writing fiction since I was in grade school, and I noticed the other day that my first published novel hit the bookstores in 2009, which is a…

Hard Writing Lessons 4 — Word Count

Friday, April 1, 2016

I’ve been busy drafting the new novel but not very busy blogging. When things are going smoothly it’s easy to whip up a quick blog post and still…