Writing Role Models: Lots of Characters and Backstory in Chapter 1

n the first ten pages of a novel, characters need to become whole, rich people that we care about. We need hooks to keep us reading, questions that need answers, and enough plot to let us know we’re in for a good ride. It’s tough to fit it all in, and seeing it done well helps me identify what to include, and more importantly, what to cut.

Writing Role Models – Studying Specific Passages

To improve your writing, read more. That’s the advice I hear. But I think the advice should be a bit more specific, like this: Read more passages that accomplish exactly what you are trying to accomplish in the passage you’re working on. It’s not pithy, but I think it’s more accurate. Maybe a cleaner version is:Continue reading “Writing Role Models – Studying Specific Passages”

Travelogue: Snorkeling John Pennekamp Park in Key Largo

I tap Jer on the arm and point. He spots the barracuda and nods. We swim on. The current is strong on Banana Reef, but still the seas are calm and we glide easily through the bright blue waters. Earlier today, we took the glass bottom boat tour and heard the descriptions and names ofContinue reading “Travelogue: Snorkeling John Pennekamp Park in Key Largo”

Travelogue: Islamorada Evening

A mustard yellow single-engine plane interrupts the quiet evening. I watch it take off from my balcony overlooking the airstrip. It occurred to me a few days ago that the homes across the water sporting odd-looking garages probably house similar aircraft. I wonder where they store their cars. A few seconds after takeoff, the familiarContinue reading “Travelogue: Islamorada Evening”

Travelogue: How to Explore Richmond, Virginia by Bike

Rent a bike from Riverside Outfitters. Happily coast down the giant hill toward Pony Pasture. Swallow a bug. Close your mouth. Continue coasting. Consider how difficult climbing this hill will be later. Stop at Pony Pasture and take photos of James River. It’s lovely. Enjoy the river and the scenery while biking Riverside drive. Spot an unmarked sideContinue reading “Travelogue: How to Explore Richmond, Virginia by Bike”

Work in Progress: World Without Work

I’m just getting started on a novel classified as speculative fiction or sci fi, with a tinge of medical thriller. Synopsis: In the near future, we no longer need to work. Artificial Intelligence systems have integrated fully, relieving humanity from all burdens:  farming, medicine, childcare, everything. Until a new disease creeps into Taylor’s city. The AIs failContinue reading “Work in Progress: World Without Work”

Work in Progress: Emmeline’s Spellbook

I’ve always wanted a beautiful old spellbook, a truly magical one, with spells that would solve the problems I face every day. Maybe if an owl had brought me a Hogwarts invitation,  I would believe enough in magic to look for it. Alas, he must have gotten lost, and my belief in magic waned. ButContinue reading “Work in Progress: Emmeline’s Spellbook”