Posts Tagged ‘writing techniques’

Over on Facebook, a reader mentioned a scene in FC:1 that she really liked. I like to investigate this sort of specific feedback–the good and the bad–to see what worked and what didn’t work for my readers.

I remembered the scene she mentioned in general, but not in detail. The main reason I wanted to investigate, though, was that her description of it as dialogue-free was not my recollection; I remembered it as being chatty to the extreme, as two swoony teenaged girls prattled on about how divine it was going to be to see Sarah Bernhardt on stage. (For those of you out of the 19th-century loop, Sarah Bernhardt was the Lady Gaga of her day.)

So, I pulled down my copy of The Year the Cloud Fell and tried to figure out what this reader had meant when she referred to the scene’s “shared communication and not a scrap of dialogue.


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Stack of BooksNow that’s a first.

A novelist friend was complaining about the names she’d picked for her characters (they’re historical ethnic names, and have several diacritical marks). She was wrapping up a long series with these characters, and was looking forward to never having to write those names again.

I thought that was a good topic for discussion. There are lots of bad choices for character names; some annoy the reader, some annoy the writer. Then, halfway through composing my own post, I searched the web for a reference, and got a hit on my own blog.

Oops…I’d already written a post on the topic of character names (and what not to do).

I suppose it was bound to happen; there are only so many one can broach on the subject of writing. Of course, I’m a good enough writer that I could have taken a new tack on an old topic, but I don’t want to recycle subjects…not yet, anyway.

So, instead of boring you with a slightly different discussion on what makes a bad name, how about boring you with a discussion on what makes a good name?

No? All right. Another time, then. 😉


Kurt R.A. Giambastiani

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Old friends sit
beneath magnolia’s
springtime glory,
sipping the red promise
of summer suns.
We recall our past,
think of children’s futures,
and listen to the quiet air
in sunlit branches.


Douglas Iris

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Pine Pollen

In the cold air of evening
Wrens forage on a red-barked tree
Cry here here here

Robins flee from my footstep
Eye me from amid apple blossoms
Coughing rum-rum-rum like old cars in the morning

Juncos steal past below me
Seeking midges mid-air
They leap silently through the gloaming

Sunset breaks the lidded sky
Limns the buds of maples
In the cold air of evening


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Character study…

Some people do not have a volume switch.

Or, to be more precise, there are some people whose volume switch is stuck at ten.

Or eleven. (more…)

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Writing with Pen and Paper

Letters are nice things to get in the mail.

I’m not talking about bills or street-spam from your local dentist. I mean letters. Honest to God Letters, written by a person, meant for you and you alone.

Well, mostly…

There’s one kind of letter that I hate to get:

The Revision Letter.


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Stack of Books

I do not care for the heroic couplet.


It’s fine for a short poem or sonnet, but when you stack one atop the other for stanza after stanza, it gets predictable, monotonous, and boring. It’s why A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my least favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, as a huge portion of it is written in heroic couplets.

What does this have to do with writing prose? Plenty.


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