The “Shock” Is, We’re With Janice?

I have been working my way through The Winds of War novel. I’m now about 1,035 pages through it, so I’m almost to the end. On the horizon, though, is its sequel: War and Remembrance (which was a Christmas present).

Reading the likes of those is one way I “relax” – yes, seriously – away from my own writing. At 1,361 pages, Remembrance is also even longer than Winds. Hmm. Between the last part of Winds and then Remembrance afterwards … uh, see you in about, oh, three years or so:

"War and Remembrance." [Photo by me, 2015.]
“War and Remembrance.” [Photo by me, 2015.]
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A Problem Of Giant Proportions

Something of a lighthearted post. We have fun here as well. I don’t like always taking matters sooooo seriously. ;-)

Over the last few days, I’ve been writing several new characters. When you read novels, do you picture characters’ looks in your mind? I suspect most of us do; it’s a natural reflex.

As odd as this might read, I work hard at not describing my characters physical appearances in heavy handed doses. I prefer to drop their looks in throughout the text in piecemeal fashion. I use blurbs.

Free Stock Photo: A silhouette of a man reaching towards the sky.
Free Stock Photo: A silhouette of a man reaching towards the sky.

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Writers: Who’s Your Boss?

I saw a comment the other day from a new novelist that did not sit right with me at all. I won’t link to it because I don’t aim to stir up trouble for others here; that’s not what I’m about. Still I feel the general issue merits addressing head on.

She wrote she had taken up writing because she wanted to work for herself and be her own boss.

As I read that, I thought, hang on a minute; that misses the point. If you’re, say, keeping a diary no one but you will ever read, that’s one thing. But as a published author you are NOT working for yourself and you are NOT your own boss.

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Meeting Maria

As I was working yesterday on a Distances scene – holiday is over; novels don’t get finished unless YOU finish them – that includes a new character, I was struck by this thought.

The books are built around core characters we know by now. There are others who are prominent regulars too of course: the various parents and certain friends.

However, much as in real life, we have people we know who make an impression and (sometimes sadly) leave us. Often someone has to move on, or we just grow apart. Sometimes they drift back into our lives; but sometimes they never do, or plain cannot:

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Grown Ups Only

As you may know, the Mad Men TV show is ending. As you may also know, it is a favorite of mine. Having watched the first of the concluding episodes, and also having this week rewatched on DVD some from the first season/ series as well (how young they were!), led me to reflecting on just how much drinking and smoking they did.

That also got me thinking about my own books.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a waiter with wine glasses.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a waiter with wine glasses.

I have some drinking:

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Novelists And The Calendar: Rarely A Good Combination

Being in the Catskills for a few days also means the house needs attention. I had some painting to do. Today, my “anti-critter” cage also needs mending after having been buried under snow and coming off the house.

Other bits and pieces needed doing as well. We’ve also had lots of early spring “visitors” the last few days. We call them “time wasters,” because when you see them you get caught up watching them and time just slips by:

Across the driveway. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Across the driveway. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]
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War Memories In A Shoebox

I’d had that encouraging “fan email.” Then, yesterday, out of the blue I received yet another interesting email:

….I have been blogging for years, but I am now looking to write a book about my life and experiences in the _____ business. Historically books about the _____ business have done very well. Any points you may have to pass on would be greatly appreciated….

That was the gist of it. He was seeking writing advice.

Specifically mine? He wanted my writing advice?

My writing desk, at home in Wiltshire, England. [Photo by me, 2014.]
My writing desk, at home in Wiltshire, England. [Photo by me, 2014.]

When asked that so overtly, you will think really hard about your answer before humbly offering any….

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In So Many Words

Commenting on my “Marathon Man” post in which I’d shared an extended look at the rough draft of a scene, Naseer wrote:

Interesting to note how Americans are when they meet each other in foreign climes, be it Paris or Kathmandu (Said with affection) Your writing adds a lot of colour. I get impression colour around you is somehow very important?

“Colour” is indeed vital to me. Background. Setting. Personalities. A sentence. A nod. A look. Taking a hand. The tiniest of moments that have the most gigantic of life consequences. As in our real lives.

A major purpose of my site here is simply to convey something daily of what I am. In doing that, I like to share the hows and whys of what I write: a journal of ups and downs. I also touch on broader topics that go beyond just my books, but which are related to my subject.

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If It’s Okay For Me To Mention This….

….I grew tired of growing old waiting to see when Frontiers would finally appear on Goodreads. I checked again yesterday (the first time in weeks), and it still wasn’t on the site. I’d had enough:

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Jane Austen Forever

The other day I happened to see an Inside the Actors Studio interview with Brad Pitt. Unsurprisingly George Clooney’s name came up. Hearing it led me into thinking about Clooney’s rise to stardom.

You’ve probably seen the post title already. Stay with me, please. This will all make much better, uh, “sense” (and sensibility?) as you scroll down.

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