Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses

Novel Progress

I am STILL slogging through chapter six. I’ve been here for days. I’m not blocked or anything, though. It’s just that the chapter needed an enema, and it’s taking longer than I thought

Writing Advice: One Of The VERY BEST Criticisms On Writing I’ve Ever Read!

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Celebrating the Holidays the WRITE Way!*

Novel Progress –

It’s Christmas Eve, for Chrissakes. Even God rested.

Writing Advice: Holiday Angst = Writing GOLD!

Does seasonal affective disorder get you down? Does enforced joy make you grind your teeth? Has it occurred to you that the VERY LAST thing the sleeping baby Jesus needs is a frickin’ drum solo, and it bothers you that it doesn’t seem to bother anyone else?

Continue reading “Celebrating the Holidays the WRITE Way!*”

Kill Your Darlings?!

Novel Progress

I got the carpet steam cleaned. What does THAT tell you?

Actually, I made some good progress. Chapter six was a little anemic so I am still fleshing it out.

Writing Advice: Kill Your Whats?

Samuel Johnson, noted dictionary maker, large person, blowhard, and wig wearer, said that when writing one should find their favorite parts and cut them out. Reading Johnson’s fiction, you can tell he cut out all the best bits he ever wrote. Johnson was very quotable but not great at fiction. But not everyone gets a slavish biographer secretly jotting down their bon mots on napkins.

I wish I did! Anyone want to be my Boswell? It’s pro bono. I promise the curse words and blasphemy will flow like sweet, sweet wine!

A vital part of writing is editing. Sometimes you have to cut whole chapters because they stop the plot dead in their tracks.

I had to do that. In my zeal to get my character from A to B, I shorted out the climax of the plot. I had to trust that the audience could accept the compression of time through editing. It was getting to be like the movie “Return of the King.”

Oh! It’s over! That was a pretty good… oh, no it’s not finished. NOW it’s over. Let’s get our coats and… damn it! This has GOT to be the end. Look! They’re leaving… oh shit. 

Incidentally, that’s only the very beginning of the cursing I can do. Cursing, or as I like to call it, “poetry of the streets,” can be an impressive add-on to any expression. Did I impressive? Nay, beautiful!

I am not suggesting that you hone your ability to express yourself through words that causes polite society to clutch their pearls and stagger towards the fainting couch. I do encourage it, but it’s not for everyone.

You say it is for you? You’re *&(#$& right it is!

If you have to cuss in a novel but want to make sure that it is adolescent-friendly, I suggest you switch your font to “wingdings.” Sure, your book will be unpublishable, but you (and by extension I) will know the dirty secret in your 70K+ word novel.

On second thought, cut that part out. You might as well print your book out in “Comic Sans.” Yeah, it’s best to leave all the sailor talk out and concentrate on your story. Be efficient, for $#(&* sake.

Don’t delete your darlings, though. Keep them. You can always use the ideas for another project. Save your work and be proud of your mastery of the linguistic dark side!

Editing for the win!


Arg! I Can’t Get Past This!

Novel Progress:

Nada. I took a few needed days off to enjoy the new Star Wars movie and then enthuse about it with my friends. SPOILER! Vader was Luke’s father. You think you know a guy…

Writing Advice: Digging Out of the Hole

Has this happened to you? You’re writing, chugging along at a good speed, then BAM! You hit a wall. You cannot progress further in the story. You had a great flow of ideas, then zilch. What happened?

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You Can’t Spell “Aspirations” Without “Pira”

Novel Progress:


Writer’s Etc.: Busy!

Sorry about keeping this brief. Today the whole world is full of pigeons and I’m the only statue. So in lieu of actually doing any writing, I can at least think about writing and call it a day.

What are your aspirations in writing? What’s your goal?

What’s mine? Thanks for asking! My goal is to be so good at writing that people will tell me I’m not as good as I used to be.

You’re very polite today. I’m not. I think the best word for me today is “snappish.”

Anyway, mostly my goal is to get better at slamming multiple words together to see what happens. Kind of like a particle physicist. Kind of like being exactly like a particle physicist, in fact. Some days I’m all like “I have Word open, I know some words, let ram them into each other as hard as I can w““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`and see what falls out.”