Your First Reader

We can probably all agree that time slows down painfully when someone is reading our writing in draft. And we’re particularly anxious about what our first reader will say about a first draft, yes? When you decide your work is ready to be read for the first time, who do you ask for feedback? A spouse? A friend? Another writer? Your writers group? Recently I came across an article from Poets & Writers that I’ve kept for a long time. Kevin Nance interviewed … Read More »

Syntax Style

posted in: Writing Craft | 5

The syntax of a sentence can be used to affect the style of writing and to spice up the prose if not overused. There are several kinds of syntactical devices. Here are a few: Anaphora It’s a syntax style consisting of a repetition of the same word at the start of a sentence. Example: “I despise the man. I despise his stand on the issues. I despise those who admire him!” Antithesis These are concepts standing in opposition of one … Read More »

Memoir: Whose Story Is It Anyway?

posted in: Writing Craft | 4

If you’re an author, do you give book talks? I know, they are full of wildcards and unexpected questions. A bit unnerving. So far I’m finding that most people showing up for my book events are friendly (knock on wood) and interested—except for that one woman who accused me of not believing in anything and stomped out of the room (not at Rollins) … we had good reason to suspect she’d had too much to drink. Oh well. **it happens. So, about giving talks … Read More »

Tales of the Epistolary

posted in: Writing Craft | 2

In high school, I picked up Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and was quickly smitten by the method of the storytelling, rendered through characters’ journals, letters, ship’s log entries, telegrams, and even wax cylinder recordings on that newfangled invention, the phonograph. I didn’t know it at the time, but Dracula represents a great example of the epistolary novel. Documents. It’s all about using documents to tell the story. An example is this log entry jotted by the troubled captain of the … Read More »

Warping the Universe for Fun and Profit

posted in: Writing Craft | 2

Beginning in 1905 with a series of papers and little fanfare, Albert Einstein turned the Universe on its head. The notion of time and space being fixed, separate entities, he deduced, is all wrong. He envisioned “spacetime” as a single thing in his special and general theories of relativity. Better yet, spacetime flexes and bends and warps with gravity. And if all matter exerts a gravitational force, my time is not your time and your time is not mine. This … Read More »

What do you have to say for yourself?

posted in: Writing Craft | 18

“Lemme axt you sumppin’, man.” I paused in mid-stride, my attention shifting to the speaker. The gravelly voice was distinctive enough, but it was the single phrase that caught my writer’s ear. I was on my way to gate C-45 in the Houston Airport and turned to see the speaker slumped in one of the molded plastic seats lining the windows of the concourse. He was staring into the distance, unaware of my interest and seemed to be talking to … Read More »

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