Author: Paddy

Slow Motion – A Writer’s Trick 0

Slow Motion – A Writer’s Trick

Clive Matson got it right! In his book Let the Crazy Child Write: Finding Your Creative Writing Voice, he suggests that writers use slow action. When an important event occurs, slow the action down to freeze frame speed. That pulls readers closer allowing them to experience the physical tension with the character. Whatever the action looks like: a fall, a gun fight, or an ah-ha moment; it works. The next time you come across an action scene, see if the author has extended that scene through slowing down the time and movement. If it is a memorable scene, I’ll wager...

Sonnet Treasures from the Past 0

Sonnet Treasures from the Past

Cleaning can lead to unforseen treasures. Several years ago, tucked away in my hope chest, I found a small cloth-covered book inherited through my father. The battered book had loose pages, long broken away from their binding. Inside I found beautiful, script-written sonnets and love poems written by Herman Young,my grandfather. Herman died decades before my birth. I don’t remember seeing his photo or hearing anyone talk about his personality. I always assumed the Augustana Luthern minister to be a tight-lipped father of 5 who kept busy with parishioners. I pictured him in profile, quiet and serious; probably sporting a...

K.I.S.S. 0


Recently, as I read research, I heard the hummingbirds outside the open door. The whir of wings moved closer. A Rufuous flew in the door and flew straight to the photo of another rufous hovering beside a northwest wildflower. The frenzy of flapping wings was a blur of brown. The hummer turned and flew out the door. It felt surreal. That simple, that fast. Writing needs to be that direct. Embellishments must move the story forward rather than slow it down with details that stir up a dust storm of confusion. Hum away. Keep It Simple Sweety! Pat yourself on...

Practice Makes Perfect (revisiting a earlier post) 0

Practice Makes Perfect (revisiting a earlier post)

When I wrote this in early 2010, these were my favorite books for writers. Since they remain the same, I’m sharing the post again. Enjoy! I am not one for practicing random writing. Occasionally it does seem like the only way I can get words to paper, but, most of the time, I write within a story that plays into a novel-length work. When I do practice for practice sake, I have two favorite books. Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan suggests exercises that allow me to use my own writing. My favorites include keeping...

Vacation? What’s a Vacation? 0

Vacation? What’s a Vacation?

Writers never go on vacation; not when the world is filled with experiences that inspire new thoughts, sensory adventures or new characters in future stories. Travel, vacations and community events provide food for writers’ souls and fingertips. Be bold.     Jump in.     Even at home you’ll find adventures. Experience a new coffee shop or visit a different park. Walk down a new-to-you street or visit a new shop. Attend a theatre in the park or an open-air market. Try a new food you find in an ethnic market. Take a class in art, woodworking, drama, or bee keeping. Attend a parade,...

Impressions Notebook 0

Impressions Notebook

Summer time, winter time, all year ’round. It’s always a great to write down your impressions as you experience them. It’s almost too simple, so give it a try! 1. Keep a small  Impressions Notebook in your pocket and jot down what you see and feel at various moments in your day and across the year. 2. Record the weather: sky conditions and colors,the temp, the way you feel looking  around you or what you feel when you step out into the weather. 3. Outside, touch objects to record their impressive temperature. A chair in the sun feels different from...

Characters Must Grow and Change 0

Characters Must Grow and Change

Characters are the focus of most novels. Here are two examples from well known authors that demonstrate important pats-on-the-back to characters that engage readers. (1) Show what’s “on the line” in the character’s lives including risks, obstacles and needs for change. In Distant Shore, Kristin Hannah wrote: In those days he’d promised her the moon and the stars, vowed to love her forever. He’d meant it too. Believed in it. They hadn’t done anything wrong, either of them. They simply hadn’t understood how long forever was. (p.118) (2) Show growth across the story for secondary characters and their subplots In...

Morning Light, Evening Light in Retrospect 1

Morning Light, Evening Light in Retrospect

There is always a moment in the morning, between the silence of the night before and the noise of the day to come, when it seemed…that time stopped for a beat, when all the world was motionless, expectant. The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve (p.82) From my vacation lanai, I see and feel this every morning. The waves off Kona take a breather, slowing before they gather force to crash against the black lava coast. The palm trees stand dark against the dawn. Stars that were bright moments ago, fade and are forgotten for now. Facing west-southwest, I see the...

Sensory Journal 0

Sensory Journal

I started a journal of sensory impressions several years ago. The idea being to record what I saw, heard, tasted, touched and smelled as well as lines I read that impacted me Like many people, my daily follow through dipped after a few weeks. Now I’ve gone back to look at what I wrote to see if I can challenge myself to lift my mundane comments to original ideas. Examples of changes: Icy grapes ….. icy grapes, a burst of coldness The cars on a nearby highway ….. an ocean of cars, surging forward Grass clippings ….. mown grass: green...

Wanted: Your Opinion 1

Wanted: Your Opinion

Which statement is most true? Why do you believe that??? “That is the job of fiction: to put down on paper, a chain of words that anyone could find in an ordinary dictionary, which will bring to life real human beings in a real setting.” James Michener in The Novel p. 212 OR… “(The) words had too much power. They had to be handled with fireproof gloves or they’d burn you to the bone.” Kristin Hannah in Distant Shore, p. 5   Do the words have power or is it the author’s ideas that create the power in a book?