Category Archives: Literature

Reviews and commentary. Enjoy reading and learn about writing

Try a little name dropping

Imagine you are discussing a current government situation with a friend. You mention an insight you learned about behind-the-scenes working of government while in our capitol. Perhaps you briefly mention that when George Bush explained this the first time, you … Continue reading

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Chemistry lessons

Chemistry–a subject in school that requires labs where students mix substances to observe what happens. However, the students spend much more time scribbling down equations on paper to calculate the result of reactions they never observe. Chemicals are often predictable. … Continue reading

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Mixing past and present can get tense

Authors sometimes play with the parts of a novel, like wooden blocks that can be rearranged. What will happen if the middle of the story is inserted at the beginning, or time moves forward and then backwards? What if exterior … Continue reading

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Breathing life into your words

Where does the spark of a story originate? Walking down the street trimmed with frosted pine swags, hearing the distant hum of a children’s choir and a mother berating her teenage son for wanting to spend Christmas day at the … Continue reading

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Simmering the main character

Character development is probably the only way to make a protagonist that is someone else than a flat or stock character. However, this takes time and results in a slower pace of writing, like a stew that must simmer for … Continue reading

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“Crazy” characters

If you want to write fiction involving mentally ill characters in a realistic way, to show how and why they no longer think clearly, you must get to know real people with real psychiatric disorders. There are many places that … Continue reading

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The nature of an epic

Before “epic” became a name used by companies to suggest their fame, it was a type of  poem. A long one describing the exploits of heroes and often involving the rise of a nation. The poetic meter made memorization of … Continue reading

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Traveling towards the novel

Story tellers usually start small. I did this with little sketches referred to as flash fictions, often under 500 words. I won money in contests and published some of these. I began receiving the response, ‘this intrigues me but I … Continue reading

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The secret to naming characters

Writers seek every secret advantage that they can to make characters appealing. Choosing a good name for the character is supposed to confer one of those advantages. The only rules I see for naming a fictional person is to make … Continue reading

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Real characters

The difference between being believable and being realistic may not be that different between works of fantasy and novels about “real life.” Books about life as we know it are often not realistic but contain an adrenaline-charged or romanticized version … Continue reading

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