Much To Be Said About Dialogue

In a previous post, The Making of a Hero, Part 2, I wrote that a character comes alive to the reader through four processes: their actions, descriptions (least preferable most times), their thoughts, and what they say (and to a degree how they speak).

He Said it Best

Dialogue gives readers insight to your character’s purposes, desires, and motivations, and thereby speaks volumes about who they are—Let them speak.

And use said most often. Said is an innocuous word passed over like the or a, connectors allowing the reader to focus on what’s really important in the sentence. In the case of dialogue, said gives the clarity of who is speaking each time. That’s its purpose.

The trouble looms—and foolishness follows—when the writer decides to add adverbs to explain what Frank said, or how.

“I didn’t know he’d come,” Frank said foolishly.

Who says Frank is being foolish? Is Frank the viewpoint character, or is it someone else, and why would either think his words are foolish?

The problem, you may realize, is that the writer of that sentence is telling the reader how to feel about Frank. When you use -ly adverbs to tell the how something is being said, you are in essence telling the reader that the character’s words do not accurately or wholly describe what you want them to feel.

Writing such a sentence is laziness. Although it may be fine as a “reminder” in the first draft of what you really want to say, that’s all it’s good for—Rewrite the sentence.

One way is to add an action beat or a thought.

“I didn’t think he’d come,” Frank said, feeling foolish.

Better yet, use sensory description to indicate Frank’s state of mind.

“I didn’t think he’d come,” Frank said, and felt his face flush.

Frank could lower his eyes, glance away, or any number of reactions that shows how he feels. Consider, though, that what you show may not be absolutely clear to the reader unless they have a good idea of Frank’s personality beforehand. Lowering his eyes, glancing away, even his face flushing could indicate Frank is shy rather than embarrassed or feeling foolish.

Said followed by an adverb, though grammatically correct, removes the power of the words spoken.

He said feverishly; she said poetically; they intoned simultaneously all say little. How do you say something feverishly? Are the words fast and furious, or is the character sweating? If your character is going to say something poetically, wouldn’t it be just that, a poem? Intoned simultaneously—you probably lost the reader here.

No Tension, No Reason

Dialogue has one of two functions that are always entwined: characterization and forward plot movement. Adding tension is critical to up the ante for your characters.

Gloria Kempton, in her book, Dialogue, from Writer’s Digest’s Write Great Fiction series, states the value of tension within dialogue this way:

“Dialogue’s purpose, and there is no exception to this, is to create tension in the present and build suspense for what’s to come.”

Can’t get any clearer about dialogue’s importance than that.

“I didn’t think he’d come,” Frank said, looking away.
What a fool. “Of course you knew he’d follow you.”

In this example, the viewpoint character is not Frank, and the VP’s reaction (their words and internal thoughts) speak to Frank’s character as well as their own while adding tension between the two. It’s always nice to have multiple layers within dialogue.

Character movements can often add to the words and a scene’s tone.

Dana adjusted the flowers in the vase, and glanced over her shoulder at Francis. “Ben must have gone to the cabin in the middle of a work week for a reason.”

Depending on your story (has Ben gone missing, was he found murdered at the cabin, or caught in an affair?), Dana’s words hint at a tension, asking the question why Ben was at the cabin when he should have been at work.

Dana stared the bay window, focused on nothing but the one question that kept rattling through her head. “Why did Ben go to the cabin when he had an important appointment scheduled at 2 PM?”

This example shows distraction and concern: again, tension underscores her speech.

Making Speech True

Another point: watch to make sure your characters speak according to their environment and time period. Today few people say “groovy” although it was quite popular among the counter-culture of the 60’s and 70’s, and in the same way someone from the JFK period would not refer to “virtual reality.”

And, for your reader’s sake, do not give a character warped speech (even if it’s what you want to imply) by having them say, “Took me youngins down fir to the wat’rin hole cuzin’ they’s be wantin’ ta swim.” This becomes tedious quickly.

Instead, use only one or two “triggers” to indicate dialect: “Took me youngins to the watering hole ’cause they wanted be swimmin’ ” does a much better job, and doesn’t force the reader to work so hard.

And sometimes a zinger is the perfect fit.

“You could have said it different.”
“What, like gentle?”
“At least a little softer.”
“To save her feelings?” She nodded. “Sure, I could have sympathized, told her I understood it’s hard to leave, but that’s just another person giving her a reason to stay. I told her the truth, tomorrow she could be wheeled out under a pressed white sheet.”

Most of all, have fun writing dialogue. Think of the back-and-forth of a conversation, one character needling for answers while another is trying to save face or protect something or someone.

For a deeper study of dialogue, I recommend Gloria Kempton’s book mentioned and Character, Emotions, and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress (also within the Write Great Fiction series).

See you on the next page,


Writer’s Quote:
“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” ~Joseph Heller

Writing Links:
Writer Beware from SFWAGood information for writers looking for agents or publishers.

Some of the best Sword and Sorcery books.


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Reflecting on the Past to Improve the Future

Before computers and the internet, a writer’s life differed greatly: we typed our stories on a typewriter, made the necessary “editorial/proofreading” marks to correct mistakes and typos on the manuscript, and once satisfied the document was properly formatted—on 8 ½  x 11″ 20 lb. non-glossy paper, doubled spaced—packaged it in an envelope addressed to the correct editor for the specific publication.

If you wanted a response (who wouldn’t?) you included an S.A.S.E (self-addressed-stamped-envelope), usually a #10 envelope where the editor inserted the rejection or acceptance of your story—the manuscript itself was a throw-away if rejected. Neat and tidy.

Back then, sending a manuscript to an editor cost something: time to create, money for the typewriter ribbon and paper, the oversized envelope (or box if a novel), the postage, and a great deal of patience waiting for a response. Although it was not yet referred to as “snail mail,” the process was nonetheless the same, and just as slow. We writers accepted that, because after all, being a writer takes an investment, and we were willing to abide.

Editors understood the investment (which weeded out the dreamers), and we would often receive helpful notes about how and why they felt our stories failed. There were form letters of rejection (like bad mimeographs), and you took those in stride, but when a personal note came back with the rejection (maybe red-marked like high school English class), there was something special about it—an editor took the time to respond, and usually when that happened, an invitation to send future writing.

Those times were glorious. Writers and editors respected each other, not only as fellow creatives, but as people.

Ah, an old man’s memories and imaginings of a better world polished by time through a foggy rose-colored lens.

Look at things now, how easy to publish your work, what with personal blogs, venues like Google and Medium, self-publishing, Amazon and others, and no worry about literature’s gatekeepers . . . dinosaurs buried in the past, and good riddance.


It is true that the opportunities for writers have never been so great with the ability to conjure an audience and feed them your talents. Therein lies the problem.

The simplicity of publishing has homogenized the skill level of “published” works: there’s a greater degree of poor writing, stories and novels that may have been good if they were polished and not rushed off at the whim of a writer striving to satisfy self value.

The Gatekeepers–agents and editors—have a valuable purpose (forced to wade through increased valleys of drivel and rivers of muddy language) and that is to dissect and assimilate what writing is skillful enough to be published. And what is likely to make a profit. There are mistakes; ask the publishers who rejected J.K. Rowling.

Digital slush piles grow to towering heights. Writers work through a couple drafts, hit the submit button, and wonder why a “form” rejection comes back within a week. The reason, my friend, is you did not polish the work, you did not take the time to fine-tune your writing . . . at this point your story is only vanity.

Back in the day, Vanity Press was something most writers scoffed at, whispered about when someone showed up at a writer’s conference with their book published by Broad Moon Press, Momma’s Closet, or some-such.

Vanity Press, then like now, was for the most part substandard. There are always exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of self-published books languish despite the “book launch” mentality and the courses mediocre writers sell you to guarantee your book reaches your sales quota; they probably won’t, by-the-way.

If you wish to bypass the gatekeepers and publish your own book, I applaud your courage and your confidence as well as your positive outlook. Just like in the old days, there will be costs involved, much greater than the packaging and shipping charges before computers. There is also the potential for a greater income, though in all fairness, most do not break even. As someone who has owned and operated several businesses, that to me is a major sway . . .  is the satisfaction of ego to see my book published great enough to accept an economic loss?

Before you hit that submit or publish button, go through your writing several times. Twice is not enough. It’s called revision, and there’s a thousand times a thousand ways to edit your work. Here are a few of my recommendations.

Make your stories the best you can. If possible, have others read your work, and then with confidence send the manuscript on the wings of hope, knowing you have done the best you can at this point in your career.

See you on the next page,


Writing Quote:

“Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.” ~Author Unknown

Links: Books on Editing

Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King
How to Write and Sell Your First Novel by Oscar Collier with Frances Spatz Leighton


The Day I Stopped Writing, And How I Started Again

It happened one Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday to be exact. The day coincided with my mom’s birthday: she passed in 1999.

Sunday is the day I post my blogs—I had nothing. A few seemingly viable ideas, but they were all kindling lacking a spark. I paced, drank a couple extra cups of coffee, talked with my wife. Nothing worked.

I went to the park, a place of solitude that usually calms me and opens the word wellspring. A raucous family interrupted the peace I yearned for, and scowling, I left. I drove through winding tree-lined country roads, got out a couple times and stood listening to song birds and the river gurgling its way to the sea. At least I still appreciated the simple and beautiful things the world offered.

I had nothing to say. A vague idea for a new story crept into my thoughts: a character, a setting, and a problem. I didn’t write it down, and strangely, found not writing too easy.

I preach writing every day; usually I’m at my keyboard at least a couple hours, seven days a week. For some reason, writing did not interest me, a lack of will perhaps.

I justified my dull head with the acknowledgment that I was simply on vacation. Everybody takes vacations, right? I knew the problem wasn’t the dreaded and mythical Writer’s Block—ideas did not wane—but I just didn’t care enough to write them down.

I interviewed myself, much like I question my characters during development. I thought I might find the self-loathing all writers face—I’m not good enough, the writing sucks, who cares what I have to say—but that wasn’t it. I’m a realist, and although I’m no Dickens, Twain, or Rowling, I’m a competent writer (I glanced at my short story and the copy of the check hanging on the wall to prove it), so it wasn’t the Black Funk I’ve written about in the past.

I answered the interview questions honestly (I’m not self-delusional, you see), and I realized something: I was the recipient of too much information, input overload from the outside world.

News, direction, instruction, suggestions, offerings, warnings, hyperbole, and a litany of other bombardments accosted me a hundred, a thousand times a day.

Yes, I needed a vacation, but not from writing—I needed to stop the incessant negativity the “news” and world of “celebrity” provided. I do not search this information, but it’s there every time I open my browser, my email, talk to people at the store or pub or while on a walk.

I’m normally pretty good at ignoring the chaos, but there must have been a nick in my armor, and like a mosquito or tick that attaches to the only skin available, I was bit.

I thanked myself for the honest conversation and made a decision: no media for a week.

No TV is easy since we don’t have any form of cable, check. My phone is a flip, so no fear of going online there, check. Fulfillment of the next choice, the internet, proved not so easy: the Twit continued to blame everybody else, mayhem in the streets, no-talents making a fortune pushing their own brand of self-love, all the horrors that may happen, on and on.

This is what I decided to salvage my sanity: check email once a day, no earlier than the afternoon after writing during the morning, that’s it. Today I had to go online to post this blog, but that’s okay. I may have to disconnect my modem to assure that I don’t search for information I need for a project, but that’s easy enough.

The world is a rush of noise, which for the most part should not affect me and usually does not. I have discovered that I am vulnerable, however, and that knowledge gives me the ability to make decisions to offset the impact.

This week I will write and read a great deal, and those are two of my favorite things to do.

If you feel inundated and overwhelmed by the maelstrom (whether real or not, mostly not), take a break. Shut down the “little brother” that deceives and manipulates the human psyche, the circus barker or potion salesmen that offers happiness out of a bottle, tube, screen, or monitor.

It’ll be like a vacation.

See you on the next page,





Writing Quote:

“There are many more people who do not write yet feel perfectly at ease sniping at those who do. When such a snipe comes your way, remind yourself that you are the one putting yourself on the line, opening a vein, walking the tightrope, singing a solo under hot lights. You are part of a courageous bunch who are all about doing.” — James Scott Bell

Links: Free Books

Gutenberg: Thousands of Free books, many of the classics: Dickens, Twain, Stevenson, Longfellow, Austen, Melville, and hundreds more. For Speculative readers, Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft, Burroughs, Poe, Verne, and a host of others. Most available in Kindle format, EPUB, HTML, PDF.

Tor: Free Monthly novel download—sign up to get next offering in March.

Amazon: Free books to download in wide range of topics and genres.

What Would Mike Say?

Books play an important role in our house: each room except the kitchen and bathrooms accommodate crowded bookshelves—there is no bookshelf or magazine rack next to the commode. Why sit on a cold, uncomfortable seat, pants dropped around your ankles, and read? I’d choose a nice easy chair, a cup of coffee nearby, thank you very much.

My wife is a voracious reader. Linda can read a book a day if she can find time between taking care of the animals–2 dogs, 3 cats, and me–cooking, cleaning, gardening, shopping, and a host of other tasks that catches her interest (she calls them projects, and each have babies).

Even after a twelve hour day, she’ll sit on the couch–dogs snoring and twitching at her feet, me the same thing in bed–and read. 1AM and she’ll doze, head drooping and hands dropping; 1:15AM, eyes bounce open, hands lift, and she’s reading. She can devour a book like I can devour a carrot cake.

I bought my wife a book, One More Time, by Mike Royco for her birthday last year; she’s read it twice. More than once I’ve had to squeeze in ear-plugs to drown out her laughter from the living room at midnight (maybe it was 2AM; I was kinda groggy).

Mike Royco was a Chicago newspaper columnist from 1963 until 1997. He started out writing a column for the The Daily News, then other Chicago papers, and finally he was syndicated throughout the country.

I had never read his columns, or if I had, it was by accident and only a time or two. But I wanted to after hearing my wife having such a good time.

For Christmas I gave Linda Mike’s second book (also a collection of his columns), For The Love of Mike. I confiscated One More Time and started to read.

Mike Royko is funny, irreverent, crass, poignant, insightful (did I mention funny?), will lambast police chiefs and politicians—Mayor Daley was a favorite—and offend anybody and everybody at least once.

He’ll make you angry, he’ll make you chortle and even guffaw once in a while. His words are cutting, biting, as sharp as a butcher’s knife and as soft as butter in July.

He’ll poke fun at you, himself, your neighbor, your father and mother, and your sister. He’ll banter with the Irish about drinking beer, the Scots about their taste for Haggis, and anyone and anything that suited his fancy on a given day.

He’s from Chicago: he loves the Cubs, he hates the Cubs, and by-the-way, stop razing all the quaint old buildings downtown to put in high-rise “projects,” thank you very much.

He’s for the little guy, you and me, and against dishonest money-hungry big business and politicos with their right hand in your pocket while waving to PTA members with their left.

He aims at the perpetrators, and fires off witty and to-the-bone truths about hatred and injustice. He finds it everywhere, and not only in Chicago. His camera is our lens, and we are his target.

His topics are as crystallized and appropriate today as they were when originally written—you see, his hand monitored the pulse of humanity, society, and not time.

He was just a regular guy, and funny. He’s worth reading for a study in style, humor, audacity, humility, and longevity. And just ’cause it’s fun.

In the current political and social climate, I wonder what Mike would say?

See you on the next page,


Writing Links: This week’s links are all about Mike
Mike Royko’s Books
Mike’s Quotes

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Chapter Length: How Long?

The question of chapter length comes up often in writing discussions and forums.

There exists no single correct answer, of course, other than “it depends” or “as long as it takes.” Not much help even though accurate.

Here are a couple things to consider about chapter length when writing and revising:

Reader Comfort

As a reader, my comfort level is greater when chapters are shorter, or at least broken up (indicated by the pound sign centered between paragraphs on the manuscript itself). I think many people feel the same way.

People have short blocks of time to read, while commuting, waiting for their kids to be released from school, or between other tasks that need attention—short sections give the book a faster, sprint-like pace while offering a “break spot” when a distraction interrupts them.

When that happens, the reader needs to be able to say, “Just a minute,” to get to the next section. People cringe and get all squirmy when disrupted in the middle of a sentence or paragraph—how do I bookmark that spot?

Shorter Keeps the Story Moving

Novel pacing wreaks havoc on many otherwise magical tales. Within the fantasy genre especially, long block-filled pages can drone on and on into 20,000-word chapters, the reader lost in a maze of unpronounceable names and moment-to-moment expression changes.

Writing shorter chapters—and sections within chapters which may act as transition or a new viewpoint character—speeds up the protagonist’s chase to their goal, propelling the reader forward so that, if not disturbed, they lose sleep cuddled up with a page-turner.

Those reasons alone are not a convincing case for shorter chapters, though.

Each chapter ideally should incorporate a character goal, tension, and action embraced by both. The action can be as simple as a conversation, which shouldn’t be simple at all.

The average chapter length reflects the short story norm, 2,500-5,000 words, an appropriate number of words to introduce a character, their goal, conflicts, and resolution . . . just like in a story.

Rather than thinking about the length of a chapter by number of words, consider what should happen within each chapter.

A chapter opens with the hero needing information (chapter goal); what follows are actions taken (and the obstacles faced) to get the needed information, but it doesn’t work out as they had hoped (tension). That is a good place to end a chapter.

The purpose of a chapter is to push the character into the next where more problems await.

Each chapter plunges the character forward in their ultimate quest (story goal) to save the damsel, find the one responsible for the murder, or learn to be a better person. But within each story goal are smaller, more immediate goals that must be met, and that’s the purpose of chapters.

Think of chapters as mini-stories.

Consider an hour long TV drama. Within that hour (maybe 45 minutes considering commercials) there are breaks, at minimum, between Act I and Act II, and Act II and Act III, and often Act III has a break between the climax and the credits.

What happens in those acts on a TV show? Characters are introduced, pressing problems arise, roadblocks inhibit forward movement, and a disaster . . . and now a word from our sponsors. That’s a chapter.

Not all chapters have to end in disaster (commonly called a cliff-hanger) and definitely shouldn’t or it gives the reader a “cry wolf” attitude, thereby reducing the impact of a true surprise moment. Use sparingly and save for those special plot instances.

Every chapter should incorporate at least one “reveal” moment, that is, something new about the character, their problem, or the plot. As with all fiction, words not relating to one of these topics need to be cut to move the story forward in some way.

There is no best answer for how many words a chapter should be, as long as you successfully introduce a character with a goal hurdling problems to reach a point where they start over again in the next chapter.

See you on the next page,


Writing Quote:

“I think it’s bad to talk about one’s present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension.” ~Norman Mailer

Writing Links

James Scott Bell, a favorite writing instructor
The Kill Zone–Thriller blog; James Scott Bell writes one a week, as do other authors.
How to develop a Writing Plan

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Writing is a Psychological Pursuit: Smile Past Doubt

To be a writer requires studying the effect life has on the human mind.

In a non-clinical environment, writers are psychologists, and better suited to the task than your local bartender—bartenders watch behavior, writers study what causes human action.

The study of human nature is essential for writers, whereas it’s just a bartender punch-line.

Characters act and respond based on how they think, flavored by their experiences and individual perceptions. Asking what motivates a character, and the life before the story that impacts their decisions, is a natural process for the fiction writer. Often, looking into one’s own outlook is the springboard catapulting the writer into the character development pool.

Self-doubt sharks swim in that psychological pool.

Writers worry if they are good enough, cringe and get defensive when others critique their work, betrayed when a story is rejected–each ignites the self-doubt fires. Self-doubt comes in many shapes, always wrestling with the fragile duo of confidence and ego. Invariably, the internal battle causes strife and creates a maligned attitude.

I love quotes because of their simplicity to a complex problem. One of my favorites is from the Moody Blues song, In The Beginning; although not specifically geared toward writing, it does deal with the psychology of writing.

“Face piles and piles of trials with smiles, it riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave.”

The first part of the quote speaks to your response when faced with adversity, the second your perception and attitude toward the world around you.

Once you acknowledge the attitude problem is not them, but You, the hurdle becomes easier to leap.

You create the doubt and valleys of pain. When you take responsibility for that view, you begin to realize the roadblocks are not uncaring editors, a system stacked against you, harried agents that didn’t take time to fully consider your genius, but your own whining.

Yes, whining. We all do it. I’m sure my wife is tired of hearing mine; I know I am, so I decided to stop. Being a contemplative fellow, I considered:

What if I didn’t complain when a rejection appeared, but smiled? It felt counter-intuitive, and I admit at first it was just bad acting. I didn’t feel all fuzzy, nor happy or even content.

But then I thought, “Hey, it just didn’t work for them, the same way buying a new smart phone doesn’t work for me.” It doesn’t necessarily mean the smart phone is bad (the same is true of the story), but that it wasn’t the right fit at this place and time.

As I once told my son, “You have every right to disagree with me and be wrong.”

Maybe the next submission will be a better choice, and the editor will make the right decision.

Repackage the story or novel and send it to the next one on your list, and most importantly, get to work on your current project. And smile about the work you have before you.

You can’t control what others do, no more than they can control your actions. Control what you can, which is the delirious act of creation. Let the world take care of its own problems as you take control of the worlds you create, and those of the characters wrestling with their own doubt.

And smile—it’s the shield against the angst.

See You on the Next Page,


Writing Quote:
“Don’t write to become famous or to make a lot of money.  Write because you love it. Write because not writing for more than a few days feels like you have abandoned a puppy in a mineshaft.  Save the puppy.”  – Joe Beernink

Links on psychology and writing:

Psychology Today

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3 New Additions At Knights of Writ in 2018

Fiction MusingThe week (and year) started well, working on the second novel in my fantasy trilogy, and adding the final polish to a couple short stories in preparation to market.

The first book of the trilogy, The Returning, which I’ve mentioned a few times, is currently with my writing friend, James, who has the task of critiquing the 3rd quarter of the 125,000-word tale. I am also critiquing his novel, and as I’ve written before, the process is an enlightening experience.

I stopped working on the novel (and any short stories) Monday evening. Halting my work was a conscious decision.

The Holiday Season and New Year had nothing to do with not writing (though there were extra events and happenings), nor was my decision caused by the mythical Writer’s Block, or even that the current novel project hit the dreaded lagging middle: I stopped writing to get organized.

The need to organize began innocently enough. I decided that in 2018 the Knights of Writ will include more to assist readers during their writing journey. I determined links to a variety of writing sources (agents and editors, magazines seeking stories, grammar assistance, and anything else to do with the craft) would be an invaluable addition. The problem was my bookmarks were a mess.

Whenever I see an article, blog post, or news story that catches my interest, I bookmark it with the intention of revisiting and studying the ideas and platitudes at a later time. Several folders are in my Bookmarks drop-down menu (Writing, History, Odd-Ball News Stories, etc.), and each have sub-folders to break the topics further. Disarrayed is how to best describe the bookmark menagerie.

Tuesday I tackled the History folder as practice—hundreds of places to visit awaited me. After a moment of panic at the sheer volume, I decided to organize the sub-folders by time reference (Ancient, Bronze Age, Medieval, etc.), areas and world civilizations (Greek, Egypt, Roman), or generalized topic (Science, Timelines, Miscellaneous, etc.) and shifted the individual bookmarks into the appropriate folders.

Some did not immediately offer a particular placement; I followed the link, quickly perused the content, and determined where it belonged. There were links that did not work or were old or were wrong and no longer interested me—those I discarded. Bye-bye.

Wednesday I wrestled with my largest inventory and the reason I chose this course of action—the Writing folder.

I bookmark a great many writing sites (many are also in my email folders, but that’s for another day). This is where the real work began.

I determined my folders: Agents and Publishers, Novel and Short Story helps (How-To’s), Reading, Markets, Writing Quotes (a new writer quote will accompany blog posts beginning in 2018 as well), General Writing, Organizations, Grammar, Blogs, and a few other less specific ones.

Each bookmark was given a home: special ones were moved to the top, others fell to the bottom. I added a few sub-sub-folders, which became my next job—as I said, I’m organizing; having the bookmarks entirely random in a general folder does not satisfy the task goal.

I worked most of Thursday, and Friday finally finished the Writing bookmark remapping—it was tedious work, but necessary. Months ago I did the same with all my Word doc writing files—it was also tedious.

What did I learn, and what can you learn from getting organized?

  1. Organization speeds up accomplishment, and adds confidence you can find what you need when you finish the allotted writing time. The last thing you want to do when writing is stop the flow to find some minutiae clarification; it’s always better to do it after writing. Make a quick note and come back later.
  2. It’s necessary to move bookmarks to their designated area promptly after saving it in the first place—seconds at the beginning over thousands of instances would have saved me hours and hours of organization this past week.

As I’ve written before, research is critical in all aspects of writing, and having the information location readily available saves time, effort, and frustration. In the future, locating the necessary research will be far easier.

I also reacquainted myself with a few interesting forgotten topics, and used them to make notes on new ideas and plans.

New for 2018 at Knights of Writ

Links to worthy writing sites
Writing Quotes, because we all need a little inspiration

Offers are not mine in most cases, but those of value as I search the internet and my in-box. Last year I received an offer from Writer’s Digest for a deeply discounted subscription of only $8 a year (10 issues, currently $19.99 or about $40 at the newsstand) with an offer to extend another year for $8, which I did.

I should have shared the offer, but neglected to in a timely manner. This year, should an offer brighten my door, I’ll let you know. There could be several, and not all will appeal to everybody—they don’t all appeal to me, for sure—but I’ll let you make those decisions.

There will be other additions as the year progresses, and I hope they will be of benefit in your growth to become a better fiction writer.

Below are this week’s links and a writing quote.

See you on the next page,


Writing Quote:
“Every hour you spend writing is an hour spent not fretting about your writing.” Dennis Palumbo

Links: Having learned a great deal through the critique process, I’ll start 2018 with a list of critique groups. Read how each operates and see if any appeal to you. I have participated in the first one, though it has been awhile; at the time I found the help valuable. So, wrap yourself in what James Scott Bell calls the Rhino Skin and dive right in, and remember, growth hurts sometimes.

Online Writing Workshop
Critters Writers Workshop
Critique Circle