Ignore Name Calling (Be Proud of What You Choose to Do)

Hey Folks, When my young son came home from school quietly wiping tears from his eyes one day, I asked what was wrong. Turns out some of the other kids at school in our gang-infested town had called him a “bastard” as he was walking home. Not for any particular reason, but just to be jerks. Kids do that sometimes. That word carries an unfortunate and untrue stigma, that a person born out of wedlock is … Read more

Let Your Characters Live Their Own Lives

Hey Folks, First, an excerpt from another professional writer’s post: “…writers should strive to make each plot point arise organically from character.” Later in the same post, the writer talks about a character living an “unauthentic” life. I don’t wonder. As I write this, I’ve seen too many Nationwide Insurance commercials lately. My first thought as I read the excerpt above was “Tiny baby shoes. So close.” (grin) If only the blogger had written “writers should … Read more

What We Love vs. What We Profess to Love: A Parable

Hey folks, Characters have a great deal to teach us. A thought struck me this morning as I considered a character, a genderless writer whose once often-professed passion was writing. The character-writer’s productivity used to bear that out. Now, though, not so much. At first, s/he was turning out new work at an alarming pace. Then s/he listened to some outside comments and decided to pull down and rework some of the stories s/he’d published. S/he … Read more

Traditional vs. Indie Publishing: A Brief Comparison

Hi Folks, My first two nonfiction titles were traditionally published. The best royalty rate I received was 10%. So every time my book sold for $12, I eventually pocketed $1.20. That was pure profit, if you don’t count the cost of gasoline and hotels and all the other costs associated with traveling to writers conferences to promote those books. I know whereof I speak. And the way traditional publishing contracts are written today, I will never … Read more

Human Traits and Human Parts

Hey Folks, Awhile back, I received an email from a long-time friend who’s also a professional writer. In his email, he wondered whether sometimes (maybe) it’s all right for writers to assign human traits to human parts: e.g., “His nose pressed up against the window” or “Her legs raced down the street” or “His eyes flew around the document.” Things like that. The short answer is, No, it isn’t. I mean, you’re the writer and the … Read more