Doorways 0


Rebecca McClanahan in Word Painting says that description promises rewards to readers. Descriptive passages create the illusion of reality, inviting the reader to move in, unpack his bags and settle in for a spell. The best of published writers sometimes miss the mark, leaving readers disappointed or angry that they didn’t find that comfortable place to enter the work. Our challenge becomes learning how to open the door to our stories or to create our visual landscapes with words. McClanahan suggests we use double brushstrokes: intensify our observation skills and merge them with our imaginative eye. Consider these observations as...

The Betweens 0

The Betweens

It’s important to write the main, tension-filled story, but don’t forget to write the in-between parts as well: sensory details, secondary characters, secondary plots. These add depth to a storyline and give the reader a chance to settle in and get comfortable while the story unfolds. Thin streaks of magenta lay between the dark mountains and the blue-black sky. The Lake Dreams the Sky by Swain Wolfe (p.48) There was a quarter moon sending a white shaft of light through the open window. It wasn’t cold, just cold enough to make you pull the covers to your chin and let...

Seeing the World, again 0

Seeing the World, again

Traveling is a great inspiration. From a plane, the clouds and the terrain below create ever-changing images that beg to be written down. Each mile provides new perspective as well as unique color patterns: miles of forest, freeways and country roads meandering, mountains, steams and crop circles. I place my characters beside me, trying to think of their reactions compared to my own. My fingers itch to know their impressions. Sometimes they oblige; other times I watch alone in awe of all that appears to drift below me.

Walking back through my early life is important in my ballet trilogy since I am using familiar sites and sights. It’s a chance to reflect on what was and what I saw; I realize they are not the same thing. I saw fascination where I now see shabby. At seventeen I walked along the sidewalks seeing cozy homes and tidy yards; now I see that they were small homes with postage-stamp sized lots. The friendly neighborhood stores providing groceries, shoes, clothing, variety items, ice cream and appliances during my teen years have morphed into tattoo parlors, adult stores and pawn shops, evidence that the malls outside of town have taken over the day-to-day commerce. The chance of revitalization: 0%. But, that’s what happens in older towns. Going back in time for my stories allows me to prolong my earlier fascination and ignore the current shabby a bit longer.

See the world as it was and is. Use what you see to create what you need to feed your writing. I know I will.

I’ve shares my impressions. Now, share yours with the rest of us in your comments below.

On Being a Writer 0

On Being a Writer

Jane Yolen in Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft (p.59) defines writer several ways but believes the best to be ‘one who writes’.

At first that sounds silly, but, after thinking about it, she makes perfect sense. For myself, writing is a compulsive act. I become anxious when I’m away from writing more than a day or two. Since, for me, stories come full blown. My fingers itch to set down characters, events and details as a part of my life. Are they good? Sometimes but usually after I work with them, go to critique groups and repeatedly edit them. I wish the definfition of a writer said,’one who writes well most of the time”. Then I’d feel better about what makes it to the page. Maybe next year!

The Winter Sky 3

The Winter Sky

Last night at midnight I stepped outside to see the sky. I’ve often done this in the summer, but wintertime skies are seldom clear where I live. The deck felt cool under my slippers but not icy as I walked to a place where the trees give way to the sky and looked up. I visually lost my balance. The stars were foreign to my summer sky. The dipper hung overhead instead of northwest of my location. One lone sattelite passed overhead. New lines of stars, curls of unknown constellations and pulsing planets spread across the sky. It was as...

Treat the Eye: Improve Your Observation Techniques 0

Treat the Eye: Improve Your Observation Techniques

We use our sight every day but often only see the common place: trees, roads, houses, children, dogs. If we are to see the world more clearly, we need to pay closer attention. What kind of trees? What does the bark feel like? Are there cones or berries or blossoms? Is the road newly paved or rutted? Are the while side lines worn? How about the center lines: did the painter keep them straight, leave any residue or streaks? Are the houses row houses? two-story? brick? wood? well-maintained? in need of sprucing up? Are the children playing on their way...

Setting Seasons 1

Setting Seasons

Seasons need not be spelled out obviously. Get creative, visual and active!  Try writing them with seasonal nouns and random verbs. For example:           The rain clouds blew in, washing the daffodil petals,  pulling them free and dropping them to the soil. The Christmas tree leaned toward the window as if to say, back away! She shook the sand from her sandals, kicked them off and stepped onto the cooling tile floor in the entry.            It was a still morning with frost dripping from the abandoned clothesline. Published authors also use...

Images 0


The race began Albino manes thrust back In the surge to arrive first. Closer and closer, Leaping, tossing aside fear The waves crash against the wintry shore.   Ocean Shores, Washington in the winter has marvelous waves that resemble stampeding horses. The skies are often overcast creating a gray-white light that accentuates the fury in the shallows. Put on your heavy coat, your boots and a scarf to protect yourself from the bitter cold and brace yourself against the winds. Walk the solitary sandy beaches as long as you dare. Listen to the thunder that surrounds you as wave after...

Update on my self-imposed writing challenge 0

Update on my self-imposed writing challenge

Week 3 of 8 weeks begins. Note-taking ends. Research begins. Always a challenge.   I decided to ignore my previous charting of When the Music Stops and guess what? My new charting was close to identical so I must be on the right path in my mind’s eye. Such a funny statement, a mind’s eye. It’s that consistent place where ideas spring forth and stick to the sides of my memory and wait for me the rediscover them. Research. Most of my research was done when I wrote 84 Ribbons so I got an 85% slide-through on that work. Just...

First Draft Idea That Blows My Mind…or…Does it? 0

First Draft Idea That Blows My Mind…or…Does it?

Karen Wiesner wrote First Draft in 30 Days and has these suggestions for the dedicated, determined writer. So, here we are in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For non-writers, that means kissing your writing friends good-by for 30 days! If you follow Karen Wiesner’s plan, you may need to pick them up off the floor and apply chocolate! (She must have amazing stamina!) After you brainstorm your idea, you begin your month-long draft with these tasks: Day 1– Character sketches, Day 2– Research/Setting, Day 3– Plot Sketches, Days 4/5– Summary Outline, Day 6– Scene notes, Days 7-13– Research, Days 14-15–...