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Showing posts from January, 2018

Writing Dreams in Fiction

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When is it okay to add dreams or flashbacks to a story?

I'm afraid there is no clear and defining answer to this question. Most of the research (or opinions) I've found on the subject imply that dream sequences and flashbacks can work in story if certain conditions are met. All of my research indicates that the current view on beginning a story with a dream or flashback is, if you actually want to sell your work, don't do it.

Of course, for every rule of writing, there are countless examples of that rule being successfully broken.  So, what are these rules? Again, no definitive answer, but I've found some considerations for using dreams and flashbacks in fiction.

If you follow K. M. Weiland (and everybody should follow K. M. Weiland) she expresses her opinion on using dreams in fiction on her youtube channel.


Others share K. M. Weiland's views on when to use dreams in fiction. Below, I've compiled a short list of generally agreed upon rules that apply to dream…

Mercurochrome Wars

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Aah, those childhood memories, full of broken bikes, broken bones, Mercurochrome, and flamethrowers. Did I say flamethrower? yes, but that is another story.

Looking back at all the stupid things I attempted in my childhood, I'm absolutely amazed that I managed to survive to adulthood.

Everyone likes the feeling of freedom and when I was a child, my bicycle was the epitome of freedom. This was before the time of bike helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and all that other safety equipment we make our own children wear these days. Back then, the only safety equipment I had was a rubber band or string around my right pant leg so it wouldn't get caught in the chain. If we couldn't find these items, my friends and I would just tuck our pant legs into our sock when riding. I know what you're thinking and, even though I lived on the west coast, I still wore socks.


My bike was my pride and joy. I believe the popular bike for kids in the early to mid seventies was made by Schwinn a…

Sailing Takes me Away

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Christopher Cross has got nothin' on me. Okay, well, he did have that song, but other than that...

I love to sail whenever I get the chance. Unfortunately, my little sailboat has been on the hard (out of the water) for some time now while I made repairs, maintenance, and upgrades. I haven't been sailing since the fourth of July last year, and that adventure ended rather quickly with some serious issues. Issues like, the boat getting pushed into the dock by high winds upon departure, tearing a hole into the side. That did not end our adventure. It was a bilge plug failing and our boat filling with water that ended the adventure. We were forced to limp back on flaked sails and outboard motor power to watch the fireworks from the shore.

Of course, my sailing thoughts, like nearly everything else in my life are best expressed with some short poems. Here's a couple.

Cast your worries all into the emerald sea Watch them sink to ocean depths as you sail with me.
Let us slip into…

The Social Media Trap

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Social media can be fun but it can also suck you down a hole so deep, you'll be drinking tea with the Mad Hatter.

I've noticed lately that nearly our entire population keeps their cell phone so close-at-hand, they might as well have it surgically attached to their bodies. But hey, don't get any ideas, I was just kidding. I often encounter drivers on the road weaving in front of me, barely staying within their lane and slowing down. That's the clue - when they slow down - that are likely reading or sending a text. Maybe they're even surfing the net or playing a game while simultaneously trying to drive a car. Most of the time, this is confirmed as I pass them. According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving accounts for twenty five percent of all vehicle crashes in the United States. Whew, I'm glad we got our safety speech out of the way. Even the news folks on television check their phones or tablets often to answer some tweet or get dir…

Penning about Poison

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My search history is a scary place. If one were to delve deep enough, I'm sure all kinds of strange, weird, and downright nasty things would surface. In the past, I've searched medieval weaponry, gunshot wounds (both entry and exit) body decomposition, and other questionable subjects. Lately, a large part of my research history is about poison and poisonous plants.

Not just the plants themselves but how one might use them to kill another. What is the most effective poison, the easiest to procure, what dosages are needed to ensure death (quick or not) and which plants do or do not show up in a toxin screen.

If the conspiracy theory is true that the government keeps a record of all our communications, interactions, phone calls, and web searches, I could easily become a suspect. I just hope that no one living anywhere near me dies of poisoning anytime soon.

For a current work in progress, I started with the premise of poisoning. I didn't want to portray the standard poisonin…

Snow Day

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Last night it snowed.

I know what you're thinking, Who cares, right? This is not the snow many of you are thinking of. We did not receive snow in feet, or even inches. We received a dusting of snow.

Nonetheless, Schools are closed, roads are close, the Governor has declared a state of emergency.

Before you break your back falling off your chair laughing, remember I live in the South.

I grew up in the Northwest in a midsize town in Washington state called Bremerton. My wife grew up in Colorado. In those places, snow was quite normal. Every year as winter approached, the snow plows and sand/salt trucks were prepared for their winter work. When the ice and snow came, these machines were put to use, plowing and clearing, and the roads stayed mostly clear and passable.

Little or none of that machinery exists as far south as I live. So, when we get this dusting of snow and the roads ice up, that's how they stay until the sun comes up and melts everything away. I suppose what I'…

Does Your Story Have Character?

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Every story needs character. Sure, many stories are driven by plot, especially the kind I like to write but, it is how the character in the story reacts and grows that makes a story unique. Let's face it, there are only 20 master plots that every story ever written falls into according to the reasearch of Tobias and others. The list has been as low as three and as high as 36 but most agree on 20.

But, if you couple these master plots with an infinitesimal number character traits, along with an author's individual style, that's what gives every story a chance to be unique. So, even if you are writing a plot-driven story, the uniqueness or freshness of the story will depend on how your main character (and other characters) react to all the threats and heartache you put to them.

In order to be successful at this you must know your character. You must guide the development or arc of your character as the story progresses. My personal style of developing a story is with at leas…

Should Writers blog?

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This article serves to answer the question posed in the title and as a review of the Writer's Digest Book, "Blogging for Writers." The book is available here from amazon.

I've had this blog for about seven years now with limited success. Mostly because I claim this is a writer blog but all my commercial writing thus far has be distributed in another genre using a pen name. I'm hoping to change that in the near future.

Unfortunately, this blog has been, more or less, a hodgepodge of fleeting thoughts I've managed to hold onto long enough to put onto the screen. Truth be told, as a writer, blogging made little sense to me.

So, I'm wandering through the local bookstore and spot this book "Blogging for Writers" from Writer's Digest books and thought that it might give me some insight or magical formula to couple my writing desires with some tangible blogging outcome.

This book is 176 pages and filled with pictures and links to successful writer…

Misadventures of a Latchkey Kid

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I ponder modern technology and remember how things were before cell phones and the Internet.

Without modern technology to babysit us and keep us sedate in a chair staring at pixelated images, how were we kept from venturing out into the wilderness and doing stupid things. I mean, in the 1970's, if a child wanted to watch television after school, the only choices were The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch. Gilligan's Island was already in reruns by then.

Our limited opportunities led us to do something nearly unheard of today - go outside and play. Of course I loved being outside so this was not a problem. Back in those days, it was common on the weekends for parents to banish their children from the house until dark. On the weekdays, it was pretty much the same but with no parent at home in case of emergency; no cell phones attached to our bodies to call anyone case of emergency. It's amazing that kids those days managed to survive through childhood. You know, with Darw…

New Year, New Post

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The recent change in the look of my blog comes with the first post of the year. Well, to be honest, the first post in nearly a year-at least a half year anyway.

With this bright and shiny new year (I just love even numbered years-don't judge me) comes a new resolution to reacquaint myself with my nearly defunct blog. It may seem I've disappeared from the timeline of history but I've just been silently moving in the background, preparing for changes to my writing formats and subjects. I've even moved back to Ywriter from my once beloved Scrivener as my favorite for getting my thoughts organized and recorded, but that's another post.

So, what can one expect from this blog for this year? At least one person has expressed interest in stories of my antics throughout my childhood. These stories are numerous and mostly true, so I plan to post more of them. I will not set a schedule or timeline for these posts right now as I would just be kidding myself to think I would sti…