Listening to Ourselves
by Jennifer Paros
journal writing class years ago, I was taught to look more closely
at any and all aspects of my experience through dialoguing.
So, if I had a headache, I’d talk to it. If I were stuck in my work,
I’d ask it pointed questions. If I were chronically angry, I’d take
it to the page, opening conversation with a person, event, or the
emotion itself. I was, of course, playing all the roles, but that
was okay because I was hoping to learn more about my own internal
writer, it was great practice. Every time I asked a question, I
listened for the answer inwardly. I was learning to allow myself to
open to the possibility of new thought coming, to allow for
surprise, to think irregularly and perhaps gain insight.
thoughts are those I’ve thought before. They are thoughts I’ve
seen, heard, written, repeated. They form around subjects but also
around emotions, clustered together in nests, like hives, all over
my inner landscape. There’s nothing new about them; they’re
familiar. Creative production out of these involves a synthesis of
what already exists. more...
Learning and Loving the Three-Act Story
by Erin Brown
This month we’re getting back to basics, so buckle up and let’s rock
the fundamentals! As I’m sure all of you know, a good story has a
beginning, middle, and end. Well, some of you may not know that,
which is the problem we want to avoid; because who wants to read a
novel in which nothing happens? We’ve all been there—reading
something that just goes on and on and on, drifting aimlessly, with
no clear structure. Some call it creativity; I call it annoying.
Some may argue that the three-act structure is a buncha hooey, but
overall, it’s a very effective model to follow when writing. The
three-act structure will usually ensure that you have more depth of
character, a more interesting plot, and an overall more dynamic
novel. It will also keep you and your story focused. . . unless
you’re drunk, then you’ll have to sober up first to focus, even with
this nifty structure (I’m looking at you, Fitzgerald!).
Now let’s get to it. The three-act structure is as follows:
The first act/beginning: This is when you, the talented writer,
establish your characters and setting. You also write their
situation. What are these crazy yahoos up to, and where? This act is
also when you establish your first plot point or a dynamic incident
that thrusts the main character from his or her normal life into a
contradictory situation that carries the rest of the story.
reviewed by Jeff Ayers
I will confess that Robert Crais is one of my favorite writers. He
has the knack of balancing humor with suspense, and his characters
of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are two of the best characters in crime
fiction. Against the backdrop of Los Angeles, which in itself is a
character, he has written some amazing novels. His latest, though
set in Los Angeles as well, introduces two new characters in one of
his rare standalones.
LAPD cop Scott James should be on medical leave after he was shot and
his partner was killed while trying to stop a brutal robbery. He
convinces his superiors that he’s fine, and requests to work with
the K9 unit. His canine, Maggie has survived tours in both Iraq and
Afghanistan, but her trainer didn’t make it back. Like Scott, she
suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and is not eligible to
stay in the unit. Scott sees her, and realizes they are kindred
spirits with both emotional and physical scars. more...
Don’t Bite That Wormy Apple
by Pamela Moore Dionne
been thinking about Snow White and the Wicked Queen a lot lately. Or
maybe it’s the apple that Snow White bites into that really has my
attention. Some gifts should not be taken at face value. Often those
gifts come disguised as advice.
2004, I founded Discovery Bay Games, a company that became quite
successful. We started out with a different corporate name and
face-to-face games. Since those early days we have grown into a
digital-only game company, and our partnerships include Atari and
Apple. However, back when I was just starting out I got lots of
advice NOT to go forward. I was once told that the world didn’t need
another word game. This statement was made in the midst of marketing
research for Baffle Gab™, my first game – which, by the way, won 28
awards once it hit stores across the nation.
had similar experiences as a writer and poet. It took me years to
learn not to take these kinds of statements to heart. The
thing that saves me from letting go of my dreams is the fact that
I’ve discovered something about the people who try to dissuade me
from coloring outside the lines.