Monthly Archives: February 2016

Give a Man a Fish and You’ll Feed Him for a Day, Teach a Man to Fish and He’ll Stand on the Beach With a Stick in His Hand

IMG_1994One thing in life I absolutely love doing is surf fishing. I tie my own rigs, take great care when selecting hooks, reel lubricants, line, and all the particulars needed for a successful outing.

Just imagine how exciting a story would be about a man, a rod, an ocean and a fish thrown together in a battle of life and death.

The man (we’ll name Fishing Guy) scans the surf. He’s looking for where the waves break over sand bars then begin to build a second or even a third time. In between these sand bars are deeper troughs which allow larger fish to swim searching for food.

Fishing Guy locates his target, “100 yards should do it.” He rears back and heaves 8 ounces of lead and circle hook loaded with a large chunk of bunker.

The bait is perfectly placed. Fishing Guy smiles, allows the rig to settle, then tightens his line and sets his drag.

He stands, poised to pounce when his quarry takes the ruse. After 30 minutes, he decides to reel his offering in to check the condition of his bait. Before he can touch the handle, he feels a slight tug. He stands stoic refusing to move.

There it is again. It won’t be long now, he thinks. Being there’s no need to set a circle hook, Fishing Guy makes a slow deliberate pull on his rod and the chase is on.

Line begins to peel from the reel at an alarming rate. Fishing Guy tightens the drag slightly hoping to turn the behemoth. It works, only now the prey is heading directly for the beach. This causes Fishing Guy to have to wind faster than is possible to keep up with the unknown aquatic creature moving toward him.

Fishing Guy wears a pair of chest waders. Unknowingly, he is standing in knee deep water when his line goes totally slack.

“All that work,” Fishing Guy says, “and I lose him.”

“Ha, ha, ha,” a voice from the deep bellows, “nothing was lost…my catch is exactly where I want him.”

A rod and reel are pushed onto the beach by an incoming wave.

On second thought, maybe I’m not as fond of surf fishing as I originally said. It’s definitely something to consider before venturing anywhere near the briny deep…or for that matter the briny shallows.

Leave a comment

Filed under On writing

Frustrated With Your Computer? Valium, Water, Swallow, Repeat. If Frustration Returns, Go Heavy on the Repeat .

frustrated-writerI don’t know about you, but to me marketing is a dirty word. So filthy, in fact, I should ban myself from using it in my blogs.

Have you ever become frustrated when trying to…I don’t know…let’s say for argument’s sake, post a picture along with your text? Simple, right?

Of course, I’ve done it a thousand times. You simply place your text on Facebook, Twitter, E-Mail or whatever social media you are using, add your picture and post. You’re now free to continue spreading the word about your latest novel…wait a minute, where’s the picture?

You’ve loaded this picture many times prior to this; now suddenly, it has disappeared, not from one location but several…wait a minute, I found it. Unfortunately, it’s in a place that makes it difficult to retrieve. No matter, since when does an inanimate object stop me? I’ll simply “save as,” and place it in another folder where it will be at my disposal.

Dum-dee-dum-dum-dum, I happily hum away waiting for my picture to appear. Katie Bar the door my picture isn’t here!

It was there. I saw it there. I know I saw it there. I even said, “There it is,” but I need it here and here is the place that it’s not!

I check the original e-mail from my publisher and cannot locate the download. I even make a copy of the book cover picture (the one that was there and not here) and attempt to paste this frustrating collection of digital dots onto my marketing document. Naught comes through but the text denoting the name of the picture.

I spend close to four hours trying to include this ready-made stroke along with my marketing text. Alas, it throws me to the ground and stomps my poor little self into submission.

That’s when I reach for my blog. The one thing I can count on in this literary world fraught with danger, despair, defeat and an all-around lack of niceness.

Worry not; tomorrow, I will be on the trail of the elusive “Rising Tide” book cover image…AND I WILL FIND IT!

Truth be known, the real reason I quit searching was to save my computer hardware from destruction by my own hand.

See what a single little picture can do to a grown man? Hang in there till next week and remember, a hard drive is a terrible thing to waste.

Leave a comment

Filed under On writing

If Reading is Fundamental Then Why do we Spend so Much Time Writing. We Should be Reading. No One Said That Writing was Fundamental.

author in shortsMy last blog dealt with styles of writing beginning with several of the masters (i.e. Hemingway, King and Wells) working our way down (I don’t want to say the bottom of the barrel, but it is what it is) me.

After weeding through different techniques (I concluded my style being that of a pinball machine as I bounced all over the place), I recall thinking there had to be more than the information I’d brought to light. Barely having scratched the surface, I knew in my heart this wasn’t the be all to end all.

That’s when I set out to prove that the information given regarding how authors actually write had been a smoke screen designed to keep the general population in the dark. A lie, if you will, perpetuated by those who wanted the truth to remain in the hands of hardliners determined to keep it forever hidden.

Here’s what I’ve been able to glean after an exhaustive search:

1.) Most authors tend to write differently.

The rest of this valuable information I have coaxed from the deepest recesses of my cranium:

2.) Some authors structure their entire book before penning the first letter.
3.) Others layout each chapter before beginning.
4.) Some outline their perspective novel on a chalk or miracle board allowing them to refer to their notes as they write.
5.) And then there are the rebels, the renegades if you will. Those who thumb their noses at what is considered normal. They begin their novel staring at a blank page, waiting for an idea. Even though that blank page may mock and waggle its tongue in an unacceptable manner, it will behave once you pen your first word. After beginning, you’ll fly by the seat of your pants until the last page and boy, what a ride it will be. I’m not ashamed to admit this is more or less my style of writing. I feel it allows me more freedom, more room to get into real trouble and more opportunities to work myself out of that trouble.

All in all, for me, it’s the way to go. Of course, everyone has their own style and none are wrong. So celebrate your particular style of writing and watch out for low flying buzzards. One just near about nailed me upside the head.

See ya next week…so quit reading other people’s stuff and get back to writing!

Leave a comment

Filed under On writing

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!


Leave a comment

Filed under On writing

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under On writing