If I Had my Druthers, Would I Want to be Considered Among the Great Writers? … Probably Not, Most of Them are Dead

calvin-writingHave you ever paid much attention to the writing styles of other authors, both classic and modern? I’ll have to say; I’ve given it a thought a time or two.

The time or two I’m speaking of would come about after reading an author such as Stephen King and then directly to Earnest Hemingway.

Hemingway, an author I carry a great deal of respect for, can take a single act and describe the action in two sentences.

Stephen King, being one of my favorites, can take the same bit of action and describe it using two pages.

H.G. Wells, another great author, would sum up the segment in two chapters.

How can there be such a vast difference in style, between three authors with such immense talent, writing an identical scene?

Well, each author would view their work with a different perspective. It seems (and this is the literary world according to me) Hemingway concerned himself with telling a story without all the unnecessary fluff. He was a “get to the point” type of writer. Perhaps, this came about from his journalistic career earlier in life.

Stephen King was interested in conveying more than just the facts. He felt it necessary to accessorize the basics with a certain amount of pizzazz (once again the world according to Lynn).

H.G. Wells chose to pen his manuscript (War of the Worlds) in an extremely descriptive style (for the last time just my Op Ed in the literary newspaper, “The Lynn Tribune.”)

If I were to use an analogy to describe my writing style, I would title it after the Who’s song, “Pinball Wizard,” cause it bounces all over the place.

I hope I’ve stepped on no one’s toes for I hold each of these writers in the highest of esteem, but I’ll have to admit it was fun playing literary critic. Even if my performance was substandard, my nose was in no way aimed toward the ceiling. In fact, I had to clean a few dust bunnies off the hair on my upper lip from staying too close to the floor.

Have a great week, see ya next Monday!


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Write a Page, Ball It Up, Throw It Away. Write a Page, Ball It Up, Throw It Away. Write a Page, Ball It Up… You Know the Deal

writer_1369645If you read my blog, then you know from time to time I tend to go on just a wee little bit about writing, rewriting, rewriting and finishing my manuscript with one final rewrite… maybe. I’ve also done pieces where I compare the process of editing today with the aid of a computer as opposed to that of a word processor, an archaic typewriter, paper and pencil, and finally, a flat rock and stone chisel.

Just when I thought it could go no further, I discovered another method to ponder.

Imagine yourself a scribe in the time before Christ. Your job: make copies of the Torah (the Torah being the first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses).

I gleaned the following information from Scott Manning’s website. Now, I will apply this methodology to my latest manuscript.

Each column of writing had to have no less than 48 and no more than 60 lines. I guess this means I be needn’ me a bunch of new manuscripts.

The scribe had to wipe his pen and bathe his entire body before writing, “Jehovah” each time it was written. Imagine if that applied to each time I wrote my main character’s name. No doubt I would end up being one clean little boy by the time the manuscript reached completion.

Every word had to be spoken aloud as it was written. I don’t know about doing this one. I’d just have to see how well my mouth and fingers would jive together as a duet.

The manuscript was examined no less than every 30 days. If mistakes were found the entire manuscript had to be redone. Oh well, I’m sunk and I mean to the bottom of the Mariana’s trench.

Each letter, word, and paragraph was counted and the document became invalid if any two letters touched. I don’t believe I have anything else to say.

I think I’ve had all I can take. If these regulations took effect today, I’d be forced to write flash fiction (which is a paragraph or less.) Even at that, it could take me months or even years to complete my first flash fiction novelette.

Perhaps I’ll just stick to one word fiction… And yes, there really is such a thing, and quite frankly, I believe a one word approach just may be my forte.

Excuse me, I must not doddle. You never know how long it will take to find that one perfect word.

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Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow. I Suspect Whomever Wrote This Had Someone Else Shovel His Sidewalk.

winterWell, it is the middle of winter and with the middle of winter comes the type of weather that the middle of winter brings. Of course, this is dependent on which part of the country (USA) you happen to be standing in when the middle of winter weather comes through.

I know some folks…no a lot of folks, complain about the weather forecasts. I tend to lean in the opposite direction. I can imagine a no more daunting task than trying to predict what will happen weather wise with all the variables that come into play. I’m amazed they’re right as often as they are.

I’ve also noticed that even those that complain about the forecast tune in each night to get the next day’s weather. I recall writing a short story about tornado’s but have never penned anything centered around snow. I read a novel years ago about a blizzard. The only part I recall is several naked and inebriated people running across the top of a large building and being blown over the edge. But I digress.

We are two days from a major snowstorm. The forecast (and this one tickles me) is between 6 and 24 inches. Kinda hard to get that one wrong. I heard through the grapevine if the storm track shifts a few miles to the west, we could end up with anything from a light drizzle to 12 feet of fresh snow in a three hour period. I don’t know, I’m just saying.

I reckon the best way to handle such a situation is to throw another log on the fire, a 20 ounce porter house on the grill and your favorite beverage in hand. Once it’s over you’ll feel confident in rendering your very own hindsight weather forecast. You may very well fall within a 50 or 60 percent chance of being right.

You’ll never know unless you try. So get out there and put those arm chair meteorological skills to work.

This could be fodder for a thrilling novelette centered around why no two snowflakes are identical. The ideas are limitless.

Good luck!

Addendum:  Made it through the storm with a foot of snow.  No power outages except one hour after the storm was over, lost satellite.  Go figure.

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Dudes Don’t Let Other Dudes Call Dudes “Bro.” I’m Just Saying


dudeWe all know that books are usually dialogue driven or nudged along by the storyline. Which one tickles your fancy? I’ve never overly thought about my style of writing. It seems the common sense approach works best, i.e. if your characters are talking in a conversational manner, you’ve got yourself a mess of dialogue. By the same token, if they’re doing stuff with their traps shut don’t go tossing words into their mouths; it’s storyline time.

I guess you could say, it’s a personal preference about how you want to put the giddy-up in your masterpiece be it gabbing, doing, or a little bit of both.

I can’t help but imagine some of the reality-based TV shows made into novels. (Talk about turning the tables) Can you imagine one driven by dialogue? I believe it would go something like this:

“All right, dude, you go wait in the upstairs bedroom with your cameras, equipment and whatnot. You two dudes spread out around the house with your remote cameras and don’t forget the basement. I’m gonna hang right here, so call out if you see anything… All right dudes, to your positions.”

“Hey, dude, I heard something.”

“What did you hear, dude?”

“I don’t know, dude, but it was something.”

“Duuude! Did you see that?”

“No, bro, I’m in the basement.”

“Hey, dude, you didn’t say dude.”

“Sorry, dude, I was keeping it real; keeping it fresh.”

“Stick to the script, dude, we put a lot of time into that piece of paper.”

“Wait a minute, dude, did you hear that?”

“I heard something, dude. It sounded kinda like some dude saying something.”

“Let me rewind the recording dudes… Okay, dudes, here it is.”

“Hey, dudes, this is the dude from the other side that said something. Get out of my house dudes; you’re creeping me and my dudes out.”

You get the idea and I think we’ll all agree. Nuff said.

Thanks for taking time to read the ravings of a mad writer.

Until next week, keep it real dudes!


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Have You Read the Book about the Grasshopper and the Caterpillar Due to be an Instant Classic? I Hope.

As much as I enjoy writing fantasy and science fiction, I believe some of the most gratifying momentscaterpillar have come from penning a children’s book for my little grandson. His name is Elijah, but to me, he’ll always be l’il Ed.

That name came about in an unusual way. A good friend of mine whom I worked with for years answered a telephone call that was meant for me. Not having the best command of the English language, he called out to me. The ensuing garbled message ended with my name sounding like “Ed.”

Needless to say, the name stuck and many of my coworkers began calling me Ed. I in turn saddled my little buddy with the same name, making him my namesake. Perfectly legal in my eyes since my eyes were the only ones looking at the situation through my eyes.

Now, l’il Ed is every bit of three years old. At this young age he is a certified engineer on steam, diesel and electric locomotives and has received an honorary Ph.D. of numbers. His post graduate work revolves around exotic, as well as classic, automobiles.

The book is nearing completion. Although the story is in place, illustrations, cover art, and back matter are still in the making.

In order to give you a short synopsis, the book contains two characters. Papa (that would be me) as a grand daddy long-legs and l’il Ed (that would be l’il Ed) as a tiny caterpillar who rides atop Papa’s back.

They share adventures and view first-hand the miracle of God’s creation.

One of my best buds, Suzie, is taking care of the illustrations. I look forward to the day I can hand l’il Ed his very own book… Oh, I forgot to mention, he is also a master of the written word.

On a totally unrelated side note, let me know if you think this phrase could catch on? I was using Dragon software and my computer decided to type anything but what was dictated: “It didn’t take me long to cursor across the age.”

Not bad for a machine run amok… Huh?

Until next week, have a wonderful seven days.

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Can a Blank Sheet of Paper Really Drive You to the Ledge Atop a Forty Story Building?

writers-block-demotivationalWhen you sit in front of that blank page, does it mock, daring you to place that first word to paper or warmly invite you, “Please, come write?”

That page (whether real or electronic) can be a cruel mistress indeed.

Taunting you to write something, anything, for it knows you are unworthy to even approach its majestic surface.

Then again, it may welcome you to lovingly caress its face, to place your thoughts, dreams and anything else that tickles your fancy.

Do you remember that nasty little phrase, “writer’s block?” It defies you to write a single word if you can, knowing full well anything you pen will be trash in the writer’s world.

Or, does your page accept your words, caressing each with praise and encouraging a steady flow of dialect or story line from talent no one else possesses?

You manage to grudgingly hammer out one chapter in eight hours of writing. Taking the rest of the day off, you revisit your work the next morning. You begin to examine the sorry excuse of words that appear to have been chosen by a first grader. You seethe and contemplate a career in the fast food industry.

Then again, the manuscript gladly accepts each word, sentence, and paragraph knowing that this piece of work will at least reach the status of a bestseller and probably rival the masters.

Sound familiar? If so, I must ask this question. Which one are you? Do you find yourself having to pound out every word or do you write bestseller after bestseller?

I bet you and I are a lot alike. We’re stuck someplace in between; sometimes to the left and sometimes to the right of that center line.

I don’t know about you, but that bestseller after bestseller has somehow managed to elude me.

Quite frankly, I have no illusions of grandeur, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying.

Cause you know, ya just never know, and that’s one thing I do know.

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I Resolve Not to Resolve Any Resolute Revolutionary Resolutions

5ccacd00-1ae8-4a14-b670-6abcb8e9b2ecHere we find ourselves firmly entrenched in the holiday season. First there was Thanksgiving… 4 lbs. Then Christmas… another 4 lbs. and now we face the New Year, which should add another 4 lbs. plus a resolution to lose 12 lbs.

If you were approached by one of the large publishing houses to write a book on New Year’s resolutions, what would you do?

I certainly can’t speak for you, but my first inclination would be to run away screaming. Not being one to shy away from a challenge, I would curtail my flight and begin my journey into the realm of New Year’s resolutions.

First off, we must begin this search for statistical information to give our book credence. Sadly, your chances of achieving your goal are all but doomed before you start. Resolutions have a 92% failure rate.

Common attempts to better one’s self include:
1. Lose Weight
2. Quit Smoking
3. Spend Less
4. Stay Fit
5. Get Organized
6. If you master any of these, then this list is more than enough!

By the first week of January 50% of those who dare to delve into the realm of resolutions have already bitten the dust. Actually bite the dust is a bit anticlimactic. A mouth full of dirt, with head buried halfway into the ground is more on the order of what really takes place.

I feel as though I have dug into the merciless pit of despair and human failure. The depression brought about by such an unnecessary fiasco prevents me from clawing any further into this sea of broken dreams.

So there you have it. Better yourself if you must, although I would strongly advise against it unless you are blessed with an unusually strong supply of will power.

What else can I say? If you decide to plunge into this dark menagerie of failure and confusion, please obtain a reputable psychiatrist, antidepressants, tranquilizers, and it never hurts to have quick access to your local suicide hot line.

I do so hope that I’ve not deterred you from adopting a plan that will improve your situation during the upcoming year. If so, that was not my intention and I apologize. I merely wish to supply you with the facts so that you can make your own informed decisions.

If you will excuse me I believe my mental health doctor is taking holiday calls and I have yet to finish my lunch (a Xanax sandwich).
Have a wonderful New Year and we’ll talk next week.

Nighty, night.

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