Writer’s Monday – Your Background Characters

Posted On Sep 22 2013 by

Do yourself a favor, plug in an old movie. Say…The Quiet Man with John Wayne or another favorite. But watch the movie from a different perspective. Take note of every background character. The waitress, the train conductor, the man in the street. Even if they only have one line. Especially if they have only one line. Notice something? Did the waitress just walk up and say, “Can I take your order?” Did the train conductor simply say, “Tickets, please”? No. These characters had…character. They were lively, over the top. Someone you’d never meet in real life, but would love to. …


SOP is too much work!

Posted On Aug 19 2013 by

Lately Super G and I have been engaged in a bloody battle to the death* over whether or not we should plot and outline our novels before typing “Chapter 1.” I have now written 4 novels, mostly with the SOP method. Oh, there were notes and I had a good idea where I was headed, but really, I was pantsing it in the truest sense of the word. Here’s my conclusion: not writing an outline is too much work! In a little unplanned experiment (and thanks to a certain author whom I will leave unnamed for her own protection), I …


Writer, Teach Thyself

Posted On Jul 8 2013 by

At my last count, there were approximately 2.4 trillion blogs out there directed at fledgling writers. I’ll count again today and see if that’s changed, but for our purposes here, it should be close enough. So why, some of you say, should I write about writing on my real-writer’s blog? Because, says I and people who look smarter than me, the best way to learn any subject is to teach it. Lately I’ve been re-visiting Larry Brook’s Story Engineering and reading through his follow up, Story Physics. When I struggle with a topic in either book, I blog about it. …


Story Milestones

Posted On Jun 27 2013 by

Before I begin my discussion of Story Physics, Larry Brooks’ latest writer’s how-too book, I want to back up a bit and talk a bit about my favorite part of his previous life-changer, Story Engineering. Larry lays down 6 principles of novel writing. We’re familiar with them already: character, theme, concept (this section alone is worth the price of the book), scene execution, writing voice, and the section I want to get into now, story structure. Structure is not a 4-letter word Yes, friends and neighbors, Larry suggest we have a structure, a wireframe so so speak, for our novels. …


Story Physics

Posted On Jun 25 2013 by

I’m about halfway through Story Physics by Larry Brooks. I first discovered Larry’s gift for teaching writers when I read his first how-to-write book entitled Story Engineering. My intention is to take the lessons learned in both of these books and discuss them on this here blog. No, I’m not hoping to compete with Larry. What I am doing–and what I recommend other new writers do–is learning by teaching. I find that the best way to digest information is to translate it into my own voice and lay it out for others. I’ll begin that with the next blog post. …


A Minor Re-write

Posted On Feb 20 2013 by

Story Concept Larry Brooks is one of those guys who makes me nuts. His advice in StoryFix so straight forward that I find myself shaking my head and saying “Why didn’t I see that coming?” Today’s post is all about concept. Concept is really at the heart of your story. He uses a few great examples to make his point. I’d like to do it here with a mystery I’m currently re-writing. And the re-write starts with concept. Here’s the original concept of my mystery: “A retired Detroit Homicide detectives moves to a northern Michigan town to open a diner, …