writing advice Jul 07, 2020

Do you write by the seat of your pants without a plan? Or are you a plotter who sets out knowing the who, what, when, where, and why of their next creation? Either way, all writing begins with the first draft. And first drafts, shall we say, stink. Inevitably, they fall far short of our expectations.

Take this post, for instance. I chose the title first, wrote a few notes, and listed some key points. Then, I opened my MacBook and began, fingers flying across the keyboard in a rhythmic tapping, the distinct sound of progress.

An hour later, I came up for air and quickly diagnosed an article suffering from severe bloat and dislocated pieces. It was a typical first draft: crappy. We all write them. There’s no way around it. And that’s the bad news. 

Whether you’re working on your seventh novel or your first short story, getting through that initial rough draft can be challenging. Cutting those darling little words and smart phrases on a rewrite can be...

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writing advice Jul 01, 2020

Has the dizzy monkey knocked on your door lately? You know the one, that annoying visitor that pops in unannounced and unwelcome. He’ll tease and taunt you, pushing all your buttons.

The dizzy monkey will question your story idea and maybe even the plot. Heck, if you let him in, he’ll have you delete dialog and change the setting. He’s a relentless distracter and sower of doubt.

Before you wad up and pitch that draft, filled with your best attempt at intrigue or mystery, consider this: The dizzy monkey has paid a visit to each of us at one time or another.

I know how you feel. He’s been at my door before, too. Want to know what I do? Read on.

No one is immune to the dizzy monkey. I doubt there’s a writer on the planet who has not endured his painful nagging at one time or another. Struggling to land the right words on paper is not an easy task. Sometimes the writing stars are aligned, and all is right with the world and our words....

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