A Writer’s Life

Improving Your Story’s Setting with Maps

Posted by on May 28, 2017 in A Writer's Life, research | 0 comments

Improving Your Story’s Setting with Maps

When it comes to bringing a sense of authenticity to your writing, it’s the little things that matter. Most writers keep meticulous notes on their characters. However, we’re not always so good about noting those little things that make for an interesting setting description. Keeping track of where your characters are physically through the use of maps is one easy way to improve your story’s setting. Not only do maps help you add in little snippets of realistic detail, they also help keep you from making stupid mistakes. When I read a book, I will often Google a map of the places...

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Slogging Through the Slough of Editing

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in A Writer's Life, The Slow Trail Home | 0 comments

Slogging Through the Slough of Editing

The Slow Trail Home is nearly at the end of its editing journey. My editor returned the final manuscript to me last Sunday and I’ve spent the past week drowning in (virtual) red ink as I work my way slowly through her edits. What exactly is copy editing? Copy editing is the final step of the editing process. We’re long past plugging big plot holes or fixing characterization issues. This is the point where the editor goes through and catches all those punctuation and grammar errors that most writers just don’t have the training to deal with. I have a solid background in...

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4 Good Reasons for Writing Fanfic

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in A Writer's Life | 0 comments

4 Good Reasons for Writing Fanfic

Many people look down on fan fiction (or fanfic) as the scribblings of wanna-be writers, of those who don’t have the creativity to come up with their own ideas. Here are four reasons why writing fanfic is actually a good thing. 1. Writing Fanfic is Less Overwhelming. It’s a bit like having training wheels when you’re first learning how to write. My neighbor’s daughter wants to be a writer. The other day I invited her over to talk for a bit about the writing process. It was with obvious embarrassment that she admitted, “I’m not that good; all I’ve...

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Music for writing: My top ten playlists

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in A Writer's Life, The Slow Trail Home | 0 comments

Music for writing: My top ten playlists

For me, silence isn’t golden. I need music for writing. I need music to distract that part of my brain that wants to ping everywhere but on my writing. But I’ve found over the years that only some types are music for writing. No words allowed A song’s lyrics usually distract me from the words I need to be putting down on paper. For that reason, I steer clear of music with lyrics, unless those lyrics happen to support what I’m writing, which does happen, though very, very rarely. The Civil Wars and Clannad fall into that rare category. The best music for writing?...

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Research Rant

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in A Writer's Life, Books, research | 3 comments

I pride myself on making my novels as factually accurate as possible (though sometimes I know the facts but end up switching them around a bit to better suit the story). Towards that end, I recently read Empire of Shadows, which covers the early exploration of Yellowstone (before it became a National Park). Not because I’m interested in Yellowstone, per se (though it is a fascinating place, and I’d love to go back there), but rather because a big chunk of the book dealt with the 2nd Cavalry and Fort Ellis, MT, in the 1870s. That’s why I was reading the book in the first...

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Joy

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in A Writer's Life | 1 comment

Funny how things come together from vastly different sources when God is trying to get a point across to you. This morning, in response to a friend’s post on Facebook, I went looking for the “Make Good Art” comic I’d seen a while back. Which of course led me to Neil Gaiman’s amazing 2012 keynote address. I’d read parts of it before, but never the whole thing. Wow. I think every artist should read/watch this at least once or twice a year. So much wisdom. Actually, I think parts of it apply to everyone, no matter what your calling may be. Especially Stephen...

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