Tag Archives: Writing Exercises

Data Dumps

You have a great idea for a fantasy. There are four hominoid races that range from almost good but a little more on the bad side to very good, practically angelic. There are also corruptions of two of the races that are evil.  Of course there are also wizards that really don’t make a race, but are different from the others.  Plus, of course a handful of intelligent and semi-intelligent creatures and monsters, like dragons. They all have their own cultures, religions, myths, personality traits, physical characteristics, ways they use magic (or don’t), etc. And, of course, the world has a rich 10,000 year history plus the “Age of Myth and Legend” which gives another 25,000 years.

So there is all of that detail in your story.  But then we get to the story itself. Hold, though, we need even more detail… Continue reading

Today’s Editing – Another Show vs. Tell Post

I am currently doing a few editing run-throughs of my novellas targeting some very specific problems relating to “show vs. tell”. Yes, this is a huge topic and many words have been written about it, but I just want to talk a little bit about what I am specifically targeting right now.

There may be technical names for the various types of “telling”.  I’m not sure.  There are two variations that I am looking at, though I will mention a third as well. Here is an example of the first:

The sun was bright causing a blinding glare from the desert.  John was hot, tired and thirsty.  He knew that if he didn’t find shelter soon that he would most likely die.

Yeah, not great writing, but that is not the problem.  I could dress this up and try hiding the “tell” quality in a fancy wrapper, but if it basically boils down to, “the sun was bright, it is hot and John I tired,” it is pure “tell”. A possible solution might be: Continue reading

Writing Exercises and POV (Part 1)

Lost Star

When I first started this blog I did a series of writing exercises.  Every now and again I do more.  I’m not talking about just following the various challenges, like Friday Fictioneers or Sue’s #writephoto, I am talking about experimenting.  As anyone who read the story I posted yesterday, Honor, knows, I am doing a bit of experimentation again. This time it was triggered by the Ursula K. Le Guin’s book Steering the Craft, which I received for Christmas.

Point of View (POV) and tense are two big choice any writer has to make when starting a story.  They are also areas that are very easy to screw up.  Before i started a blog, I spent some time over at the forums on Writer’s Digest and found that people were very militant with POV.  Pretty much only first person and limited third person from a single person was acceptable.  There could be no changes whatsoever in any work.  One POV, solid like granite. Continue reading

Expressing the Inexpressible Part 2

Trent's Eye

After “talking to someone on the blogs I decided to try an experiment.  I wanted to write poem to express the inexpressible.  It is possible some of my poems had done this,but this was the only time I sat down with this odd goal in mind.  What I tried to do is increase the rhythm of the poem with the intensity of the words, to build the feeling as the poem built.  You can read “When I Think of You” to decide if I succeeded.

So on Thursday I wrote a post about poetry being able to express the inexpressible, to say things for which no words exist.  Of course I fell flat.  The only way I could think of doing it is by showing examples and maybe two or three people looked at the examples.  It isn’t a new idea,of course.  We express ourselves in poems and others can relate to that expression.  I ended the post by saying i should try the same thing in prose.  So, of course I did.  Try, that is. Continue reading

A Word on Words! And a Question….


This is a bit of nothing, just a quick homage to words, words in an attempt to portray the wonder of words. As readers and writers we have a love affair with words. We dance to their music in our ear and savor their delicious flavor in our mouths as we speak them. We delight in a new word or a clever combination of them.

One of the things that I’m often curious about is vocabulary. More specifically, how many different words have I used in a story? Are there any tools out there that people use? I write in MS Word. It gives a total count but it doesn’t tell me how many unique words I’ve used. I’ve played with a few different online tools. I’ll admit that I only did a few quick searches and tested just a small sampling, a handful or so, of different online tools. Of these, this was my favorite:  http://wordcounttools.com/   Yeah, the name says it all. Continue reading

Stories Untold and Books Unwritten

My Book

While watching the news a few weeks ago I was reminded of an old book idea I had decades ago. The basic idea of the book was thought out in 1988 during a period of prolific writing. Well, I wrote a half dozen short stories, bought a typewriter, and typed a few out, so while not prolific, it was a time that I actually did more than just dream about writing. I totally rewrote the book in my mind over the years 1993 – 1994, but I’m pretty sure the plot point that involved the trial of a racist police officer who had shot some unarmed black citizens was there since 1988.

Have you ever remembered an old plot line or unwritten story and asked yourself why you never carried through with it? I’ll admit it happens way too often with me. The reason I say “way too often” is the fact that until recently I’ve written far more stories in my head than I have actually written out. Continue reading

How Did You Ever Think of That? (Again)

Idea Tree(Originally posted March 2, 2014 – yes, the idea tree is picked clean)

When I read interviews with authors or books describing their writing methods one question always comes up: Where do you get your ideas?  Some get very defensive, “You’d think I had an idea tree I can just pick story lines from or perhaps I say an incantation and an idea demon comes to my rescue.”  Others are a little more practical, “Whenever I read or hear something new I get a story idea.  I spend a lot of time going through magazines and newspapers and they’re just full of potential stories.”  “I take two unrated ideas and find a way to bring them together.  This creates a story.” Continue reading

POV – Beyond Sight, Sound and Action

Youth Gathering

I recently posted a short story, From the Sounds of Silence to the Wall of Sound. In the story a teenage girl, Deb, found herself on a couch next to her church’s youth coordinator’s five year old son, Terrance. Scott Fleming made some teasing remark about the boy. He was seated on the floor leaning on Janice Rodger’s legs, looking at Deb and smirking. He then pointing out that Deb’s love life was less than stellar. Janice laughed. Deb used to have a crush on Scott but he could be such a jerk. As much to spite Scott as anything else, she flirted with the little boy. It was all in fun and he really was adorable, yet Deb was surprised at how good having little Terrance snuggled up against her made her feel. At 16 she was now an adult and didn’t need to be babied, but she still secretly liked to be cuddled, a need that really wasn’t getting met. She didn’t want anyone in her family to touch her and even if she had a boyfriend to cuddle, he would most likely interpret it as a desire for sex. With Terrance it was different, more innocent. She both thrilled in and ignored the warm feeling spreading through her body when she saw the look of adoration on Terrance’s cute young face. If only Larry McAlister looked at her like that. She paused a moment then thought, “or even if Scott did”.

Continue reading

A Matter of Perspective

Trent's Eye

We often go through life on routine.  We tend to look at things the same way.  Today I saw a post on Sonya Lira’s photography blog about looking at things from another perspective.  This got me thinking and I decided to make a post about it. Continue reading