Thursday, July 23, 2009


Even though this talks about literary fiction, I think the concept should be applied to any kind of fiction. Sorry, I can't take credit for this.

By tradition, literary fiction tends to be serious—and static. A valuable area of improvement for literary writers is making their writing vibrant with motion—full of energy that is transferred from page to reader. Action! And all this action in writing comes from word choice, well-constructed sentences and paragraphs, and from clear transfer of ideas that avoids obscurity. Then a story has action in all its elements, and momentum overall.

Overall, everything should move forward in a story. A story is a tidal wave that carries water fowl, trees and plants, and man-made elements broken and mangled; and when it encounters obstacles it engulfs them and dislodges them inexorably. Stories cannot be stagnant puddles waiting for an occasional shower to maintain their existence. It is the author’s challenge, if not duty, to create a tidal wave. It is a quest not accomplished in a few sittings before a computer screen. Learning to write with story momentum is a lifelong dedication


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just Yawning

I haven't been blogging lately. I've been writing. I'm smiling when I say that. I've written about a millions words, really.

I've been under the weather. I feel tired all the time, but I can't sleep. This has been going on for months, but the last week it's been worse. No wonder I haven't applied myself to my book. No energy. I'm going to the doctor to recheck on my blood pressure which I'm happy to report is wonderful now. I'm going to get to the bottom of this tired business, by gum.

We're off to Los Vegas next week for three days. We're meeting my daughter and our four grandchildren. Who knew Los Vegas was a family resort? Last year we all went to Disney Land. We had the time of our lives. I expect this year won't be as enchanting as that, but it will still be fun. We live so far apart. They live in Washington state, we live in Iowa. I'll post some pictures when we get back, how's that?

I've tried to keep up with y'all. I try to comment, too. Soon's I get my energy back, I'm going to participate a little more. It's all I can to do keep my eyes open these days.

Well, I'll probably have an inspiration and blog before I go. See y'all then.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Quick Tips

From time to time, I post quick tips from various sources--certainly not from my vast resources of knowledge. Some of them are even useful. Find them on my "Tips 'n Stuff" page.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Too flippin' Good to be True

PhotobucketOkay, so I go online on a whim one day and find an old version of Adobe Photoshop. Man, it's a great price and I don't question this because it's a version behind. So I get it and load 'er up. Error message, all the components don't install on my computer. I go to the web, ask question, fuss around with programs where I don't have any business being, and still nothing. I uninstall it, reinstall it, turn off virus protection and firewalls, install it again--same error. My last resort, I read the instruction. No help there. Finally, I throw my hands up in a fit of disappointment and frustration and uninstall for what I think is the last time.

I email to company, "Oh sure," they emailed back, "you know, send it back, but what is the problem, if we can help, we'd like to try." Well gee, how nice is that? I go through the process of installing it again so I can get the message in it's word for word entirety. I really want this program, it's the coolest thing ever. Anyway, I reply back to the email with the message and a complete history of, it's on Vista and what processor my computer runs with, how much space I have, blah, blah blah. I send it off. Mind you I only have forty days in which to return it. I've been waiting for a week and gotten nothing back.

I uninstall it from my compaq and load it onto my six year old, rebuilt HP with Pentium 4 processor and lots of space. Well, you can imagine my delight when it and all its components installed without a hitch. I go to register it . . . The registration is invalid. Now I spend the day in the adobe Photoshop website going through faqs, business solutions, forums, you name it. I find a place where it lets me put my serial number in so they can help. So sorry, the registration number is invalid. Surprise! Oh, and here's something else I learned from my travels. This version of Photoshop won't install on Vista. Well crap.

I'm going to send them another message and wait a day or two, then I'm putting it in the box it came in, taping the torn edges up--well, I was excited when I got it and just ripped it open. I'm sending it back lock, stock and barrel.

Sigh, will I ever learn, if it's too good to be true, it's not true.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

The hero thows a fit

Jack Troy stands up, hands on hips and glares at his creator, EA McKenzie, in disbelief. "You're kidding, right? You haven't given me enough to deal with, now you add a dominating grandmother?"

"Jack," EA says. "You are dealing with things far too well. You need an antagonist to challenge you."

"WHAT, getting shot isn’t enough? Raising an ungrateful, fifteen-year old brother doesn’t antagonize me? Taking in a complete stranger who brings danger to me and Ancel, isn’t enough? What about falling in love? That's stressful . . . though, well, pleasant, but still. And you're reorganizing the script and taking out some of my best stuff. What's that about? I'm starting to look like a freaking . . . gees, I don't know. You tell me."

With a superhuman effort, EA squelches her impatience, takes a deep breath and says, "Calm down, Jack. It's not like you to get so excited."

"Wait, this is the only life I get. Once you close the lid on the computer, you go off and have a grand old time while I'm left in your most recent fantasy and forgotten. Sometimes I'm even left hanging with a dangling participle, an unfinished sentence, or an unresolved catastrophe. Talk about tension. So I can get excited, you taught me how to be emotional, EA."

EA raises an eyebrow. "Yes, I see I've done that quite well, too well, maybe. With all due respect, my dear, I can shove a sock in your mouth at will."

EA blows off Jack's indignation and continues, "Here's the deal, you are too perfect, too wonderful and I love you like that, but the readers might find your perfect-ness boring. I'd hate for them to give up on the book and miss the adventure. And you're not a freaking anything. You're a warm, kind hearted man on a mission to save a young boy's life. We needed grandma to shake things up with Ancel and to disapprove of Skip. It gives her the excuse she's been looking for to say 'I told you so.' You feel guilty and angry, so you turn on the woman you so recently realized you love."

Jack isn’t convinced. "Well that takes care of my, so called 'perfect-ness.'" He pauses for breath, then remembers, "And, and, aren't those chapters where the old bag lady gets killed exciting? What about when we go to the shelter to rescue Skip and he topples a table and injures my knee. Now I've got to gimp and hobble with a crutch and a cane through the next few chapters--and that's in addition to the gunshot wound I already received in my shoulder. Skip was a little twit in that scene, EA, he almost kills Bobby and puts Cole and me in mortal danger."

"I know, I know. But the readers aren’t going to get the emotional bang for their buck. It's not your fault, I'm the one writing the novel and I'm the one putting myself out there, not you. They'll love you no matter how boring the story is. We've learned through reading and studying that a few tension filled scenes just aren't going to cut it. We need more substance, and we're still not quite sure how to write the ending. Then there's the problem of the other characters getting all the attention at the end while you sit with Ancel in the hospital. Granny might come in handy there."

EA feels bad for Jack as he sits with his big, sad eyes. Then she realizes she's talking to a fictitious character. They'll be carrying her away in a padded wagon next. But she can't leave this unresolved. "Aw, Jack, You're the hero," EA says, "Those other characters are there to make you look good and help you resolve things."

Jack heaves a heavy sigh. "I . . . I guess you're right, but no more surprises, okay."

"Sorry, darlin, I can't promise you that," EA says with a broad smile.

Jack glares at her. Even with that expression on his face, he's still the hunk she created.

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About Commas

I have posted a new tip on my "Tips 'n Stuff" page.

I also found a really cool webpage at,"" Ask it a question and you should get an answer. I haven't done this, yet, but you can submit articles there, too. Anyway, check it out if you've a mind.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Can you give me a description?

Descriptions. I aways come up sort and have to run the internet for help so my characters won't all look alike. So I made a list. Of course it can be revised and added to, but here are the basics. Feel free to add to the list.


  • Old, oldish, young, middle age, six-month, twenty-years, mid forties, beyond expiration

  • Height:

    • I'm six feet tall and I had to look up at him."

    • Shorter than the height requirement at Disney Land."

    • As tall as he is wide"

    • She seemed taller than her five foot one inch height"

    • Average height might be a stretch as she only came up to his shoulders."


    • His neck seemed not to exist as it sat on his shoulders like a Mr. Potato
      head. His bespectacled eyes and bulbous nose added to the illusion and his body was as round as the potato. He had stick legs and feet like a hobbit's.

    • He was well built, long legs, long torso, and pecs that would shame Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    • Thin and muscular like a dancer.

    • So average, she would disappear in a crowd.

    • Built like a test tube.

    • Bent like a question mark.

    Hair color

    • Blond

    • strawberry blond

    • dishwater blond

    • yellow as the sun

    • gray

    • brown

    • dark brown

    • black

    • blue black

    • light brown

    • red

    • carrot red

    • crayon red

    • streaked

    • highlighted

    • white, gray

    • salt and pepper

    • pink

    • blue

    • blond over black

    • bottle blond

    • bald head surrounded by a half circle of gray

    • Bald on top with a skirt of tight red curls around the ears

    Hair style, type"

    • long

    • straight

    • curly

    • short

    • spiked

    • limp

    • Punked

    • bald

    • mostly bald

    • receding hairline

    • ponytail

    • pigtail

    • braids

    • Bun, bob

    • buzz cut

    • ringlets

    • back combed

    • parted

    • bangs

    • swept over

    • bangs

    • shaved

    • wavy

    • pompadour

    • bushy

    • course

    • shiny

    • like wire

    • kinky

    • lustrous

    • scraggly

    • weaved

    • sculptured part

    • dreadlocks

    • Afro

    • bee hive

    • tresses

    • bouffant

    • flyaway

    • pixie

    • ratted

    • center part

    • side part

    • fluffy, choppy

    • layered

    • permed

    • French twist

    • funky

    • shag

    • surfer

    • sun kissed


    • Horselike

    • bulbous

    • straight

    • hooked

    • flared

    • red

    • pointed

    • like a ski jump

    • broken

    • smashed
    • pug

    • big

    • small

    • sharp enough to pop a balloon

    • nostrils wide enough to accommodate car,

    Eye color:

    • blue, brown, chestnut, green, gray, red, periwinkle, sapphire, chocolate, light brown, dark brown, black, charcoal, albino, mud

    Eye shape, etc:

    • almond, round, big, small, beady, wide, deep set, dark, large, small, expressive, sad, sparkly, bright, concerned, troubled, gentle, kind, mean, mischievous, cruel, cold

    I don't want to drag this out today. There's so many others out there. A person just has to use their imagination, and if you're writing a fantasy or paranormal fiction, the sky is the limit. Your character could have wolf eyes. Like I said before, contribute some of your favorites in the comments. I'll continue this on another post.

    Happy hump day.
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    Friday, July 3, 2009

    Character Driven, Plot Driven

    I've been away for awhile and yet, I have nothing to say. I'm making progress on my book, and I've reacquainted myself with my first WIP. Now that was a huge endeavor. It was becoming an epic. In fact my current WIP, Bum's Rush came out of that story. I think I can pull two or three more books from it, too.

    I wish I had the enthusiasm I had when I started my first novel. But looking at the very first draft, I can see a huge improvement in my writing. I mean HUGE. I attribute my improvement to perserverance, reading, and a critique group. But as I read over the story, I realized, it's the most boring story ever. It's all character driven and no action. It lacks interest. I was so in love with my characters, I forgot to get to the story. It needs a complete overhaul and it would take an endeavor I don't have the energy for right now. So I went back and looked at Bum's Rush with a new eye. It's going much better.

    What are your thoughts about character driven and plot driven books? I think there still has to be interesting characters in plot driven books. I've read some books where the characters seemed like an after thought. Obviously, you can't have one without the other.

    I'm going to explore this a little more and get back to you.

    Happy 4th Everyone. Don't burn your fingers on the twinklers. Ha, I'm a poet--NOT.

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