The Power of Words

Word Magic for WritersIn editor Cindy Rogers’s excellent 2004 book “Word Magic for Writers,” one chapter focuses on authors making “Dazzling word choices.” Her aim is to teach writers how to create vivid images by using vibrant words. Rogers quoted Mark Twain…

Multi-Tasking

Multi-Tasking

I read 2-3 books simultaneously—fiction and non-fiction. It’s my way of multi-tasking. You never know what story ideas you might pick up doing this. One of those gems caught my eye while reading Robert Kaplan’s Imperial GruntsThe American Military On The Ground. I wrote McFadden’s Warbecause…

Like movies?

Like movies? I do. Are you a discerning moviegoer? You should be. Stephen King writes about his love of the cinema. It helped form his imagination. Gathering from his success with the written word, King paid attention to dialog in the movies. Rule of thumb: If movies open with an over-long car chase or drop a demolition derby in the middle, screenwriters ran out of words. Shame. Well-written scripts…

What If?

Earlier, I wrote about beginning a story with a question: "What if?" Ask yourself that question while digesting that morning's news. Example: A candidate declares for office—a high-profile state or national race. Might that news item prompt a "What if?" Perhaps the candidate was involved in a deadly high school prank twenty, thirty years ago. Maybe he was one of three buddies who bullied a fourth…

Do you start with an outline?

People invariably ask, “Do you start with an outline?” Yes and no. A writer has to have a genesis for a story, perhaps even a general idea of where the tale is headed. But that’s not a preordained sequence I commit to paper. My characters are rarely fully formed when I begin. I may know who my protagonists are, but getting inside their heads is a process, not something put down in an outline.…