Monthly Archives: November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 win

Completed the first draft of the first two parts of a four part series today. Racking up 50,300 in wordage by day 30 of National Novel Writing Month 2015 qualifies for the win. With success in 2008 and 2012 (CampNaNo) that makes me a three-time winner. Congrats and thanks to writing buddies Leslie, Dave, Jeff, Sam and of course, the stealthy Cinma. Onward to part three!


Writer’s Digest, January 2016

Writer's Digest, Jan. 2016

Writer’s Digest, Jan. 2016

Write Your Novel in 2016
The Machinery of Desire The most compelling characters are driven by conflicting desires. Here’s how to use that yearning to pull all the right parts of your story in motion. by David Corbett
Rewriting the “Rules” of Dialogue Understand why and how to break these 7 common rules about writing dialogue, and you’ll write more effective, nuanced, and engaging character conversations. by Steven James
Power Tools It’s not the size of your writer’s toolbox that matters—it’s how you use what’s inside. Become proficient with these 2 tools, and you can fix most any story problem. by Elizabeth Sims
Novel Writing from A to Z Staring down the first blank page of your novel-to-be can be daunting—but any hesitation stops here. Our A to Z guide of expert tips, inspirational advice and helpful hints will walk you from Page 1 through The End. Compiled by Baihley Grandison & Tyler Moss
Interview: Jojo Moyes For proof that resonating with readers is what matters most—and that “overnight success” is often a whole career in the making—meet Jojo Moyes: one of the hottest yet humblest writers on the world stage today. by Jessica Strawser
Literature With a Splash of Lime Plan your next vacation around one of these Caribbean literary festivals, and enrich your writing life island-style. by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Plus: Writer’s Workbook, Inkwell and Columns

Writer’s Digest Website

National Novel Writing Month 2015

AJhSIF4CTzwV4rrAgRJXECcQdM0BRmC2igzWqDb8zgDkf0dfO8s3jyMCQsy8ytfeaIMbVA=w1248-h782Apologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been somewhat obsessively focused on NaNoWriMo. There’s something about its daily target of 1667 words, and the joy of tracking your progress on the graph the website generates for you, that I find invigorating. Only a whisper from halfway, nearly a day early, at 24,541. My goal is to be a day ahead of pace by Thanksgiving, so I can take it off if too many other things compete.

Best wishes to any other NaNoLanders—past or current. Keep going. Tomorrow will break 25K for thousands of people around the world. The cumulative total for Portland is over 15M, per the latest word.

Game Changers

Bouchercon panel, October 10, 2015
The Crime, Mystery & Thriller Novels: The Game Changers (paraphrased notes)
James Scott Bell (moderator), David Bell, M. Ruth Myers, Stefanie Pintoff, Michael (?)

What is a game changer?
SP: Readers come to a thriller (for example), with certain expectations, so the writer must meet those expectations, but also bring something new.
M: I think everything’s been done—character is what’s different and memorable.
MRM: You can develop a unique voice.
DB: There are only seven different plots, so it’s your character, and how the writer’s life experience informs their work, that makes your novel unique, makes readers care.

Where do your ideas come from?
MRM: Ideas seek me out, a news item will spark something, the snatch of a conversation, either one can start the “what if” process. Sometimes it’s just a the germ of a story.
SP: I take walks to stimulate ideas.
DB: Something happens, you can just flip the facts and go.
M: I like to say my ideas are “seeded,” rather than inspired by real life.

Does your story have to end with closure?
M: There has to be some justice by the end.
DB: At least 51% justice. The characters have to survive, but they aren’t the same people by the end.
MRM: The character wants to help justice along.
SP: Give readers some understanding of your villain—why he came to be.

And what about the villain?
M: “Society gets the killers it deserves.”
MRM: Villains of mysteries and thrillers are different, readers have different expectations for different genres.
JSB: Readers want villains with dimension, like The Wolfman. A classic villain whom readers sympathize with, but also don’t like what he does.

Hostage Taker by Stefanie Pintoff

Hostage Taker by Stefanie Pintoff

Stefanie Pintoff’s handout (pictured) was a pack of five cards. Front sides are identical, but each back features a nice biographical sketch of a different character from her book—very cool—one of the best handouts at the convention IMHO.

Fin Fare

The Saint May 1957

The Saint May 1957

“Nursing his cab along the inside traffic lane and keeping one eye peeled for a fare, Terry McClane thought about five bucks.”
“Exactly Five Thirty-Five” by Lawrence Treat
The Saint Detective Magazine May 1957

Christine Keeler

Pic Dec. 1963

Pic Dec. 1963

“The title “Pic” had been around since the 1930s, originally with quotation marks around it, later without them, but had gone through at least a couple of publishers, including Street & Smith, before Fass decided to use it. Pic was a digest Fass first published in December of 1963, the first issue was a gem, with a classic note from the Editor (“Rochelle Davis”) opening up the mag, printed on top of a classic photo which showed Sammy Davis, Jr. sitting with a bunch of white guys watching a stripper on stage shaking her hootchie-koo.”

The Note: “PIC brings you a brand new look at life on the seamless side—we cover and uncover all the action, wherever the action is: in Paris with Sammy (mostly rearguard there), in London with Chris (front and side views, up and down ac- tion), all over the world, wherethe girls are. That’s the ticket, now let’s enjoy the ride! The Editor”
“Myron Fass: Foto-rama and His Other Digests 1956-1976” by Tom Brinkmann
The Digest Enthusiast book one, Jan. 2015