Which Came First?

As an illustrator for newspapers, and now as an author, people ask me, “Which came first?” I wrote occasional feature articles during my journalism career but was always an artist first. Now retired, I spend my time writing. I didn’t stop drawing after taking up writing. Authors have to train their minds and writing skills to “keep their hand in.”  Think of short writing exercises as a form of mental…

Prologues

The late great Elmore Leonard advised authors to avoid prologues. His answer to prologues was to "drop in a backstory anywhere you want to." Ordinarily I'd follow his advice. After all, he had a good track record as storyteller. I handle prologues two ways: All three of my novels have them. I used brief prologues to introduce the background for my stories. I labored to make them concise and intriguing.…

The How To of Writing

Famous writers will sometimes share the “How To” of writing. Authors-in-waiting, myself included, devour these hints as if they were pronounced from Olympus. It should be obvious some rules are common sense. The writer in question has developed others because they work for them. The late Elmore Leonard, one of the written word’s finest craftsmen, followed guidelines as…

Finding Your Style

I love to read—as an author and a fan. I devour biographies, history, humor, classics, mysteries, crime fiction, and military history. I confess to not reading much science fiction, poetry or horror, though I did enjoy one of Stephen King’s most recent novels. Although she did not begin writing until middle age, the well-known…

Editors

There is a biblical proverb reading, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing…” The same truth can be applied to editors. Finding a good editor is a blessing—every writer needs one. True, not all editors are created equal. But having worked with the same editor on all my books, including my latest novel—McFadden’s War—I readily admit she has made me a better writer.…