Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking a Break

This is the 30th. post today and I've met my goal of posting for 30 days straight.  Some were good, some were awful and some were just OK, but I had fun and I stuck to it.  It's time to concentrate on polishing the manuscript and getting it ready to submit and I eagerly anticipate starting the next book.  I have a couple of good ideas.  We'll see which one talks to me the most.

I don't plan on abandoning the blog.  I will just calm it down a bit.  The pace of writing something everyday kept me busy and at times I felt like I was scrambling to come up with something new to talk about.  So, from now on, if I feel I have something to say, I'll say it here.  If I'm busy writing, I'll more than likely remain silent on the blog.  Just know I'm cranking out the next great novel (or in my case, the first great novel).  Ha!

Talk to you soon.

Rich Hale

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Bicycle

Back in Annandale, Va. again as a kid.

The court I lived on  was a hard right turn at the bottom of a hill.  The house that sat on the corner was pressed up very close to this hilly street.  Many residents complained repeatedly that the close proximity of the house to the street obstructed the view of cars coming down the hill as you exited my court.  A number of fender benders had happened at this small neighborhood intersection, but of course, nothing could be done.  No one was going to move the house.

One of the other kids in the court had a sister.  This little sister had a bike and she had been trying to ride it for months without much success.  She had fallen so many times and scraped knees, elbows, palms, face, she was now terrified of it.  We tried to help.  We showed her the bike would balance on its own as long as it was rolling.  This was demonstrated to her by running along side the back pushing it up to speed (with no one on it of course) and then letting it go.  It would coast upright, perfectly balanced until it either ran out of momentum or ran into something.  Didn't phase her.  She refused to try so we gave up.

It gave us a great idea though.

We took her bike to the entrance of the court.  One kid hid in the bushes on the opposite side of the court entrance and another manned the un-manned bike.  It took a little practice for timing, but the 'spotter' kid would yell "Now!" and the runner would get the bike up to speed and let it go.

Now with this house up so close to the street, the blocked view worked both ways.  A car coming down the hill could not see something exiting the court until it's nose was just about into the street.  So, if timed correctly, this bike would come flying out of the court, coasting upright into the street and the driver could never stop in time.  Brakes squealing, metal crashing, the driver would always hit the bike.  We would then run!  Man, we were stupid.

This went on for a couple of days until the bike was so beat and bent up, it wouldn't roll on its own.  The kid's sister cried for 2 days.  Man, we were stupid!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Jags Part 2?

After the win on Sunday against the Raiders, it looks like the Jags just may have a shot at the playoffs.  At least, their chances seem to rest in their own hands.  For the most part.

If the Jags can beat the Colts in their own house and Houston loses, the Jags have it locked up.  Anything else happens then the deck is reshuffled.  The potential is there and it sure has been good to see them hanging in there to the end.  At times they seem like the 'Cardiac Cats' of old and sure put on a great show.  Go Jags!  Keep it up!  It sure would be fun to see you win the AFC South.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reading Your Manuscript Out Loud

One of the final tests the writer should perform before submitting the manuscript for publication is to read the story out loud.  It sounds weird, I know, but you'd be surprised what this simple process can reveal.  If it doesn't sound good out loud, it won't fly with someone reading it.

As most readers absorb a good book, they create pictures in their mind of scenes, characters, and environments.  They also will hear certain things created by the imagination.  This is why a good work of fiction is so enjoyable.  It wisks you away to a little corner of your mind where you, the reader, get to fill in all the subtleties of the story.  Dialogue will create voices in the readers head and if the dialogue is cramped, corny or too mechanical, the reader will know it.  When you read the story out loud, all of these flaws become apparent.  You'll hear the corny, cheezy, or mechanical flaws and hopefully correct them.

It does take a little getting used to.  The first time I tried it, I felt embarrassed even though I was alone.  Later, my daughter stuck her head in and looked at me funny.  I explained what I was doing and why and she seemed to understand.  She pointed out a corny line I had just read and felt somewhat proud of herself.  After a little practice you'll even begin reading the story with some emotion almost as if you were acting it out.

The most important thing you'll get out of the exercise is the ability to 'hear' what your readers are 'hearing' in their heads.  I think you'll be surprised at some of the mistakes you will find.  Don't leave this important step of the editing process out.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name

Should I write under a pen name or use my own?  I'm sure many an author have pondered that same question for one reason or another, but for me I wonder if it would improve or detract from much needed attention.

My own name seems a little boring to me only because it has been my name for 46 years now (alright, cat's out of the bag...I'm ancient).  I've asked a few people and they seem to think it's a fine name for an author.  Seems dignified, proper, and flows well according to them, but should I use my whole name or some shortened version or even a nickname?

Richard Hale
Rich Hale
Richard C Hale
Dick Hale
Dick C Hale
C Dick Hale
or just Sofaking

Using a unique pen name might be fun if I could find one, but why do some authors do this?  Are they trying to hide something or trying to remain anonymous?  Maybe they just want to write something a little different than what they are known for?  This last thing makes the most sense to me.  If you're known for writing horror and say, you want to write porn for a bit, you might need to come up with a pen name until you get it out of your system.  Something like Phil McCrackin of Heywood Jablome.  Something that would let you do whatever you wanted without the stigma of your past practices impeding progress.

If I were to pick a pen name I think I would like something that just sounded cool.  Something that almost sounded like you were a super-hero or something.  Jennings Jackson or Slate Steel or Broad Shoulders (?).  Alright, that last one was really lame, but you get the idea.  A cool handle to attract that oh so elusive book buyer.  Something to make me stand out in a crowd of mundane authors whose household names invoke a sense of wonder.  Let's look at this for a minute.  Put my name up against anyone's.  How about Stephen King's:

Stephen King or Richard Charles Hale

No Brainer.  Now how about:

Stephen King or Pouridge Livermore 


Stephen King or Jaeger Moansleeve


Stephen King or Cap E. Toll

Something to think about anyway.  Right now, I'll just stick with good 'ol Richard Hale.  Works for me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Dummy Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1 you can do so here.

Since we couldn't skate on the ice or slide the furniture around, we went back to our court and each went to our houses to gather some old clothing.  We met in my backyard near the hole in the hedge and began assembling a dummy made of a pair of pants and long sleeve shirt and then stuffed it with the other old clothes and rags we had found.  Holding him up for inspection we couldn't help but giggle at what we had created.

We took George (the dummy's name) to the pool complex, heaved him over the fence and then clambered over it after him.  Jimmy had brought an ice pick and he chipped out a half circle in the ice at the edge of the pool big enough for the dummy and we took the lifeguard hook's pole and stuffed the dummy under the ice, pushing him about 3 to 4 feet away from the edge with the pole.

Through the milky white ice, George the dummy looked exactly like a body trapped under the ice.  We put the pole back and scrambled over the fence giggling and laughing the whole time as we high-tailed it back to my yard. 

We waited.

A week went by, then two.  Every day we would nonchalantly walk past the pool and one of us would turn and look.

"He still there?"  Jimmy would ask.
"Yep, still there," his brother John would say.

We couldn't figure out why no one had discovered The Dummy. 

The following week, just before dusk, we were playing kick the can in the snow and we heard sirens in the distance getting closer.  We all froze.  As they grew louder we could tell they were heading for the pool so we hauled ass, laughing and cackling to the hole in the hedge at my back yard and watched.

Two police cars, 3 fire trucks, an ambulance and a small gathering of neighbors watched for 30 minutes or so as the firemen attempted to rescue The Dummy.  This part remains frozen in my memory as distinct and clear as the day it happened:  Sound travels well over the snow and we could here the emergency vehicle's radios squawk now and then along with the frantic voices of the police and fireman.  As they rescued The Dummy, holding it up to see, everything became deathly silent as the guy holding George said:  "Fucking kids!"  and threw The Dummy to the ground.  It made a wet slapping noise as it hit the deck.  We ran.

There's a reason I posted this little clip of my childhood.  The other day Annandale popped into the news and it made me think about all the good and bad times I had there.  The town and The court I lived on were some of the most dramatic and memorable of my young life.  But what if things had turned out just a little different?  What if the prank had gone wrong?  Could be a good story in there.  I may just have to put my pen to it.  When I'm finished, I'll post it on this blog. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Dummy Part 1

I lived in Annandale Virginia when I was a kid and we had a neighborhood pool everybody swam in during the summer.  During the winter, the lifeguards and staff stored what they could in the shed, stacked the pool furniture up and locked up the bathrooms tight.  Water remained in the pool.

At the mischievous age of 13, my friends and I were always finding ways to get ourselves into trouble and during one of the 'snow days' of that winter, we had gotten bored of the snowball fights and snow fort building, and sledding, and decided we would try skating on the pool.  We cut through my backyard (there was an opening between a 10 foot hedge and our fence) and wandered over to the pool complex.  It was deserted.  All of us climbed the fence and stood at the edge of the frozen pool.  The ice didn't look very thick.

John, my next door neighbor decided to test it by putting his weight on one foot while his brother Jimmy and I held on to him.  Carefully he put his foot on the ice and leaned out over the water, slowly putting more and more weight on it until he was standing on the ice with one foot.  He looked up and grinned at us.  That's when the ice broke and his foot dropped into the water.  Luckily Jimmy and I had a good grip on him and yanked him right back up but not before his shoe and pant leg up to his knee dipped into the frigid water.  He wasn't grinning anymore.

Since sliding or walking on the pool was out, we decided to take all the pool furniture and slide it out to the middle of the frozen pool.  We thought this was hilarious since no one could go out and get it as the ice was only strong enough to hold the furniture's weight but not strong enough to hold a human's weight, even a 13 year old. 

There the furniture sat until the ice melted and then it all sank to the bottom only to be retrieved by the angry pool staff before the summer swimming season began.

The next winter was even colder than then previous one and the ice over the pool seemed thicker but none of us were willing to test it out.  The pool staff had learned their lesson and chained all the furniture to the pool deck so we couldn't slide it out on the ice again.  We had a better idea anyway. 

Part 2 tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Computer Virus

Today will be short and sweet (well, maybe not so sweet for me).  I seem to have a computer virus and though I'm usually pretty adept at handling these irritating pokes in the eye of this modern age, I find myself a little overwhelmed with everyday duties and really just don't want to deal with it.  Alas, it has to be done, because as most of us have found, the family computer seems to be a necessity these days and when it is possessed by demons of some sort, the whole household comes to a screaming halt.  So, instead of writing about what I wanted today, I must succumb to the whim of some unknown idiot, tackle the world of hackers and purge my system of its malady.  Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I've been looking for new words I'm unfamiliar with to add to the next short story or novel.  For instance, zeitgeist.  It just sounds cool.  I had no idea what it meant when I first heard it, so I had to look it up. 

    zeitgeist - the spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation

Now to find some way to use it.  I love the word ointment too.  It just has a funny ring to it along with the possibility the use may invoke some uncomfortable response from the reader. 

   He applied the ointment to the infected area hoping the rash would clear up before his date.

Here's another one just heard from KBJaxx in a response to this blog:  bemoan.  It's not a new word to me, I mean I've heard it before, but it's one of those words you don't hear too often and frankly I just forgot it even existed.

   bemoan - regret strongly.

I've got to find a place to put that one.  Slang words are fun too.  A co-worker told me I needed to use this in my next book

  'rug' - slang for the combination of a redneck and a thug.

I don't think anyone would get it unless you were able to explain the slang to them, but it's funny.

I'd love to hear some interesting or funny words to add to my list.  Let me know what ya' got.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Lights Part 3

If you haven't read them, click on Part1 and Part 2.

As far as the bad stuff that happened, they were thankfully few and far between, but they played a major role in my decision to give myself a break from the show.

In the first year I had a group of drunk people show up with the radio blasting and the windows open.  I had heard a few loud radios and usually they toned it down after a bit, but when I could hear my neighbor yelling at them to turn it down, I decided to investigate.  They wouldn't listen to reason and said they could listen to it as loud as they wanted.  I didn' t argue with them, just went inside, locked the doors and shut the show off.  After about 15 minutes they got the hint and left.

Then there was the neighborhood teenager in the beat up truck.  This kid really scared me.  He was probably irritated at the traffic I created and having little or no patience, would come barrelling round the corner with his hand pressed constantly on the horn.  He never stopped or slowed down and narrowly missed some car doors.  What scared me the most about this was people would be out of their cars with their little ones, standing in the street watching the show and he would never even slow down.  I tried stopping him a few times, but he ignored me.  I was on my way to talk to him one day and my wife stopped me.  "You're just going to get yourself thrown in jail.  Just leave it alone."  She was right.  I just did my best to warn people about it when I heard his loud exhaust fire up.  Luckily last year he never was an issue.  I believe he was away at school.  Thank God!

The second year was going well and I thought it was going to be uneventful, but as the crowds increased, people's patience decreased and I thought some folks were going to duke it out.  They would get angry because a car's lights were blinding them and they would start yelling, or some car was in the middle of the road and wouldn't let anyone around them.  Somebody even turned a different radio station on and then turned it all the way up.

This was supposed to make people happy not create anger and angst.

Then the software malfunctioned one night while I was at work.  It kept playing the intro over and over again, never moving past it.  I was getting e-mails on my phone at work and then my wife called in a panic. I tried to troubleshoot it with her over the phone, but we couldn't get it worked out so I had her shut it down for the night.  The next day I had 20 to 30 nasty e-mails from people.  I had a hard time NOT writing them back asking for an address so I could send them a refund.  Sheesh!

But the straw that broke the camels back came at the end of the season when I made a huge error disassembling the Mega Tree.  I somehow got the strings of lights all tangled (144 strings to be exact) and I ended up with a giant ball of lights.  I had to throw away almost a $1000.00 worth of lights.  I couldn't afford to replace them.  At that moment it just wasn't worth it to me.  I was so angry at myself I vowed to never do the show again. 

Needless to say, I've had somewhat of a change of heart.  I miss it this year and I've had a few little ones very upset at me.  I'll give it a rest this season and since I haven't sold anything yet, decide over the course of the next year if I want to do it again.  I'm leaning towards yes.  We'll see. 

If you'd like to watch some videos of the show from years past, you can find them here.

Merry Christmas!!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Lights Part 2

If you didn't read part 1, you'll find it here.

The night I turned them on for the first time, I stood in the street with this huge grin on my face.  After all the planning, building, programming and setting up, it actually worked!  A few little tweaks needed to be adjusted, like one of the arches was leaping backwards and some of the bushes weren't lighting up correctly, but 15 minutes later, everything was running perfect.  Now to wait for my audience.  Nobody came.  Ha!

It took a couple of nights, but people eventually started stopping and wondering why all the lights were blinking on and off in a pattern that didn't seem random.  Some folks didn't realize they were synchronized to music since I had the songs broadcast through an FM transmitter so the neighbors wouldn't have to listen to speakers blaring all the time.  When I pointed out the lit up sign displaying the correct FM channel, they got it and then you would see their faces light up.  Sure was a lot better with the music, they would say.

As the holiday season progressed that first year, people would tell other people and they would e-mail their friends who would facebook somebody else and pretty soon I was having crowds of folks all just from word of mouth.  I didn't want to be on the news or in the paper, so I didn't solicit any of that, and as it turned out, I really didn't need any advertising.  By the week of Christmas, cars were wrapped around the block from 7:30 until 9:30.  I started to get concerned.  Maybe it was going to get out of hand.  Luckily it never did.

The good things about that first year were numerous.  The neighbors didn't seem to mind (at least they didn't tell me), everyone who saw it loved it, people for the most part were well behaved with the exception of a few I'll mention in a moment, people would clap when they would see me walking around the display, attending to some minor maintenance or checking wiring and set-up.  On Luminary night, I received numerous standing ovations and even one, "I'm gonna do this next year."  I tried to warn the fellow about what he was getting into, but he didn't seem to care.  I still don't know if he ever followed through or not.

I even had one couple send me a Christmas card with money in it to help pay for the electric bill.  That floored me.  But the thing that touched me the most was the little 5 year old girl who insisted on giving my wife $5.00 of her allowance so we would keep doing it every year.  Her parents wouldn't take the money back and said it was what she wanted to do.  These are the ones that make my decision not to do the show this year regrettable.  I'm sure I've let some people down. 

Tomorrow, in part 3, the bad things that have happened.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Lights Part 1

I finally came to my senses.  Well, actually I needed a break.  After only 2 years of the animated Christmas Light Show, I have successfully burned my self out.  Don't get me wrong, it was fun to see it running and everyone who saw it raved about how cool it was, but man, it was a lot of work.

If any are not familiar with animated Christmas Lights, just google 'animated Christmas lights to music' and you'll see what I'm talking about.  Some are spectacles in themselves.  Behind the scenes, it takes quite a bit of planning and time to put a good show together.

My first year, I started thinking about it in January.  I bought a lot of the equipment on sale in July and at that point had already decided what I was going to do and had begun practicing with a free limited version of the software that runs the show.  Over the summer I built a lot of the pieces and spent countless hours soldering together the controller boxes that would send the signals from the computer to the actual lights.  I bought controller kits and they took about 5 hours each to build.

The rest of the summer and fall was spent programming the music so the lights would turn on and off to the beat of the song.  With each controller (8 of them) having 16 channels, that gave me 128 different things to turn on and off and I had to program each one for each song.  It usually took about an hour to program about 15 seconds of a song.  You get the idea.

I still remember having my littlest one operate the drill as we spun lights onto PVC pipe to make the leaping arches.  She said she had fun, but I could tell she was sick of it after only two.

Set-up started the day after Halloween and the next three weeks I spent every waking hour that I wasn't at work, putting it all together.  I did not exist in my family that year during that time period.  No one saw me the whole buildup to Thanksgiving which was my target date for the show to start.  You can probably figure how that went over with the family.  Obsessed was a term I heard a lot.

Tomorrow part 2.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Dog Snores

My dog snores.  She hasn't always done this, but as she's gotten older it seems to worsen by the day.  I mean sometimes it's so loud it drowns out the TV. I could fall asleep in front of the TV and wake 20 minutes later from her snoring.  When she walks or runs, she oinks now like a pig and that in itself is somewhat humorous, but when she sits in front of you, staring at your food and snoring at it while she is wide awake, even I crack up.

My Dad had a ukulele when we were kids.  If you've never seen one, it's like a baby guitar but with only four nylon strings.  You tuned it by singing these four words:  My Dog Has Fleas.  Now, when you look at those four words it's hard to imagine tuning an instrument to them, but if you heard how they were sung just once, you would never forget.  It always worked.

If I could just use that theory on my dog I might be able to make her snoring just a little more pleasing to the ear:  My Dog Snores Loud.  You know...tune her up or something.

Anybody else out there have pets or animals that make uncharacteristic noises?  Love to hear about it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm scared

I saw this post on Facebook the other day:

"I'm scared."

That was it.  Two words.  Maybe if you say it fast enough, one word..."I'mScared."  The response was phenomenal.  Comments were being left, left and right (or right and left if you're right handed):

"What's wrong?"  "Why?"  "Who scared you?  I'll kick their ass!"  "???"  and the best, "I had a scar once too, but I put some cream on it and it slowly faded away."

And then there were the 'likes'.  42 people liked this!  What the F?  Did these 42 people know the reason this person was scared?  Did they care?  Or did they just click on the 'like' button by mistake.  I did that once when a friend of mine made some depressing comment about their dog Gigi dying after 15 long, blissful years in the family.  I couldn't figure out how to cancel it.  I'm down one friend now.

This went on for a whole day and this person never explained what he/she meant by "I'm scared."  Silence on their part and this made it worse.  It drove people nuts so they just started making shit up:

"I heard he/she came out of the closet."  "Maybe the dog became violent."  "Carnies scare me!"  "Can I come over and hold you?"  "I had herpes once. Scared the crap out of me too!"  "Cabbage juice is good for your stomach.  Keeps everything flowing."

Those two terrifying words had created panic and bedlam among this person's 'friends' and if somebody didn't give them some information soon, they were going to shut the website down!

The next day, this person posted on their wall "Oops!  My bad!  I meant 'I'm seared'.  I'm fried... I got super sunburned at the beach.  Sorry."

Sheesh!!!   Tomorrow I'm gonna' try it.  I'll put:

"I'm worried."  instead of  "I'm hurried."  Or "I'm late." instead of  "I'm lame."  Or "I've got ointment." instead of  "I've got appointments."

Be careful what you type, it might just lead to embellishment...I mean embarrassment.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I decided to impose upon myself a few deadlines, this blog being one of them.  I wanted to see if I could write something everyday for 30 days.  Today I'm going to cheat a little.  I wrote something so now I'm done.  Oh...alright, never mind.

All of us have deadlines.  Just the other day, I needed to pay a certain bill by a certain date, so I wrote a check (people still use these things?) put it in an envelope, licked it, put a stamp on it, and mailed it.  Pretty simple.  I still hate it.  I'm somewhat of a procrastinator and If I can let it go, I will.  For some reason, when somebody imposes a deadline on me, I take it as a personal assault on my time.  A demand for attention I'm unwilling to give.  A violent thrust of a wickedly sharp knife slicing into the guts of my existence.'s not really that bad.  I just put stuff off sometimes and then forget about it until I either have to rush around to finish the task or realize no amount of hurrying will complete it on time and I must be satisfied with it being late.  There are a few exceptions to this basic flaw of mine, but for the most part, putting stuff off has become an art form for me.  Let me give you an example:

Never mind...I'll think of one tomorrow.

Most writers deal with deadlines all the time.  Whether you write for a newspaper, magazine, or blog, you are usually required to have a completed, polished, article ready by a certain time and date or risk having your work passed over or at the worst, losing your job.  Popular fiction writers are usually no different.  They must adhere to deadlines dealt them by their publishers and are usually paid in advance for work expected within a certain timeline.  Thus, I'm practicing for when I'm cool and popular (if ever).  If some future publisher wants me to hand in to them 500,000 words of polished material by Christmas Eve, dammit I want to be ready.

Or at least close.  Maybe by Christmas day.  Wait....that's a holiday so...the day after Christmas.  Whatever.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Back Story

Boy did I screw this up.

In fiction writing, the back story can be an author's friend or worst enemy.  For me, it drove me crazy.  In my first manuscript, I had no idea what I was doing, thus the back story scenes I wrote were awful,  cumbersome and boring.  They were what editors call 'Information dumps' and they are also a no-no.

I fell into the trap of many a rookie writer by leaving important information out of the story and then deciding to provide that info via a few segments of back story.  In other words, I took the reader on a jaunt back it time to fill in some missing gaps.  All it really did was cause confusion and in some cases, the information given in the back story wasn't even needed. 

Of all the errors I made in the first manuscript, this was the hardest to fix and as of this blog date I am still re-writing the beginning trying to fix the timeline in my story so the back story can be made clear without there actually being a back story.  In my case, quite a bit of information needed to get to the reader that had happened in the past and I'll be damned if there was an easy way to do it.  Who knows...I may have to leave it the way it is.

But enough of my problems.  Sometimes taking the reader back in time is a necessity and can often be very entertaining if done correctly.  Numerous writers use it and use it well, though most editors will probably tell you to avoid it at all costs, or if necessary, spread the back story throughout the book, giving tidbits of history here and there so as not to bore the reader to death as you leave the current storyline.

If you decide to use back story, take a hard look at what you are trying to accomplish with it and see if there might be a better way around it.  Keep it short and to the point and return to the main story line as soon as possible so as not to lose the reader.   Just remember, the story is the story and everything else is cake.  Or is it pie?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Blog Theme

Someone asked me the other day, "What's your blog about?"  I didn't know what to say.  I thought for a minute and finally said, "It's about everything."

This person looked at me and said, "You mean it's about nothing."

"Pretty much," I said.  "But it's about everything too."  He just shook his head.

Does the blog need a theme?  I mean the title is my name.  Richard C Hale.  I know that's not really a theme, but the blog is pretty much me.  I'm kind of unpredictable and that's kind of what I wanted this to be.  I wanted it to be whatever I felt like at the moment.  If I'm feeling goofy, I'll write something goofy.  If I'm feeling melancholy, I'll write something sad.  If I'm feeling horny, I'll write something sad get the idea.

I did not want this to be about one thing or one theme.  I'd probably get bored quick.  I wanted it to be about whatever interests me at the moment.  Whatever happened to pique my interest for the day, or kept me up late at night.  Whatever whim or idea struck me as interesting or at the least, entertaining.  Sure, I may bore the reader sometimes, but that only means I may find something the next time that is special.

Maybe I could have a theme week periodically, like My Job Doesn't Pay Enough week, or I Hate Cats week, or even Cheese Gives Me Gas week.  I don't know...I don't think I could read a whole weeks worth of stuff on QVC:  Addiction or Affection, much less write about it.  Shoot me if I ever do.

So, as far as the Blog's theme?  I'll just leave it theme-less for now.  Actually, I'll leave it theme-less forever.  This is too much fun the way it is.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

John Grisham's The Confession

I just finished The Confession by John Grisham and I have to say he can still tell a story which stays with you.  When a story can cause me to think about it for days or even weeks after I finish it, then to me, it is a great story.

Donte Drumm is about to be executed for a crime he did not commit, and as his lawyer exhausts all last minute appeals, a dying criminal confesses to the crime Donte was found guilty of.  Can the execution of an innocent man be stopped or will the system fail at it's most critical hour?

The story draws you in and envelopes you in its heart wrenching drama as you live the intensity of the last days, hours, and minutes of a death row inmate leading up to the time of his execution.  Very intense and emotional, the story will invigorate you and leave you drained at the same time.  A must read.  A superbly crafted tale that grabs you from the start and accelerates to the dramatic end leaving you breathless and exhausted from the ride.  If you read it, let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Six Million Dollar Man

I saw today that 'The Six Million Dollar Man' series is out on DVD.  I loved that show!  "Steve Austin, a man barely alive.  We can rebuild him.  Make him better, faster, stronger..." Cue the music.  What a great show.  I distinctly remember laying on the living room floor, my Dad reclined in his favorite chair, my little brother and sister off to bed, while Steve found himself embroiled in some new danger or conflict.

I even watched the Bionic Woman for a while, but sadly when they started with the family and the dog, even I at a young age found it lame.  Bionic dog.  What the F?

Television in the 70's sure was different back then.  Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, The Wonderful World of Disney, Laugh In, just to name a few.  These are memories from my childhood and it's almost laughable now to think that I used to get in trouble on Saturday nights if Mom caught me up late watching this new show called Saturday Night Live.  It was not appropriate my mother would say.  I'm sure that was part of the appeal.

SNL is still inappropriate but I love the show anyway.

I don't know why I chose to ramble on about this today, maybe I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, or maybe I feel like my kids are getting ripped off because they don't get to enjoy the same things I did as a kid.  I'm sure they would feel the old Six Million Dollar Man was a loser show or boring, but to me, it wasn't just about the content of the show.  It was about the time I got to spend with my Dad, even though I didn't realize it at the time.

Cell phones, the Internet, school, travel teams, my job, all these things represent a lifestyle that I'm still not sure has improved.  Kids just don't get to be kids anymore.  Hell, I used to leave my house in the morning, be gone all day playing and come home for dinner.  We would never let that go on now.  Too many dangers out there.

I remember watching Steve Austin and his bionic parts and thinking the future would hold so much promise and life would be so cool as science and medicine advanced, improving our lives and making the world a better place.  I don't think we've achieved that.  I wonder if we've actually made it worse.  Time will only tell.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

As my wife and daughters contemplated whether or not to venture out into the throng of holiday shoppers, scouring the adds in search of some item they felt they desperately needed, an item supposedly deeply discounted, I thought to myself, "Why do they call it 'Black Friday'?"  A little research was required.

When  a new writer sets out to start a project, they often ask what they should write about.  Some veteran writers will tell them to 'write what you know'.  If you're a know-it-all, that's fine and good as you could probably tackle anything, but most of us do have severe limitations on knowledge.  Ok...maybe just me.  In most cases a little research can play a vital role in creating a story with useful, accurate, information.  Plus, it can be fun and very enlightening.

When I started writing my first manuscript I had a few ideas rattling around in my head, but the one that appealed to me the most was the one I felt I could finish with the least amount of research.  I just didn't want to be bogged down with delays while I eagerly sought counsel on some small tidbit of information which would probably only account for 10 words of actual composition.  I just wanted to get in to the mechanics of writing again since it had been quite a while for me.  What I found though was the project still required some research and I actually enjoyed the small breaks it required as I pondered ways to plagiarize without plagiarizing.

Some authors live for the research.  I know many who spend a year or more on a manuscript and over half of that time is spent in various forms of research, either interviewing, reading, or traveling to exotic places as they dive headlong into unknown territory.  David Morrell tells in his book on writing, The Successful Novelisthow he took a survival course which involved many weeks of training and a final exam where he was left in the wilderness and had to find his way to a specific rendezvous within so many days.  He went through  the ordeal for his research on his novel Testament.  I've heard Steve Berry visits the local used book stores and scours the shelves for older literature to fuel his very historically accurate thrillers.  He usually emerges with over a hundred books for his efforts and when you read his exciting stories, you feel the work come alive.  My friend and thriller writer, Chuck Barrett, made several trips to Savannah for his novel The Savannah Project and as his characters were thrust into action during St. Patrick's day in the historical city, you couldn't help but visualize all Mr. Barrett had painstakingly researched as the accuracy and detail made the landscape come alive in my mind.

I for one am not a big research hound.  I will probably never write a historical thriller or pour my heart and soul into exotic places and cultures, but I do believe every story should lend itself to accuracy and because of that will always do what is needed to provide it to the reader.  Plus it usually is kind of fun.

As far as Black Friday, if you Google the term, you'll get your answer.  The Black Friday we are concerned with in this little blog, originated in Philadelphia in the 1960's and was attributed to most retailers "getting out of the red and into the black" as far as their profits go.  In other words, they are finally making money.  One word of caution on research.  If you use the Internet, make sure you are able to verify your information.  Wikipedia and the Internet are great sources, but sometimes can be riddled with opinions and misinformation.  Did I get it right?  Look for yourself.  Have fun and a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


My father was a Marine Aviator, flying the A4 Skyhawk during the early days of the Vietnam war.  I know the cost of that war weighed heavy on his heart throughout most of his adult life.  It took many years for him to be able to share his experience with me and I don't know if I ever thanked him.  He gave up so much and carried such a burden throughout his life so that his wife and children would be able to live happy and free.

Living the life of one who has never served, I find it hard to comprehend what my Father and all veterans face after the battle is over and life must somehow continue for them. 

These men and women deserve our thanks and on this day I give it.  Your dedication and sacrifice for me and my family, so that every thing we hold dear continues to bless this family and this nation, is a measure of your courage and fortitude.

Thank you for your service.

And always have been and always will be, my hero.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What if?

Once upon a time (sorry, I couldn't resist) there was this Air Traffic Controller/Respiratory Therapist/Bartender/Greenskeeper/Musician/Radio control pilot/Christmas Light enthusiast who pondered his life and asked "What if I had done something different?  What if for the last 20 frickin years I had persued something a little more stable, like Floral arranging, or insurance sales?  What if I liked broccoli sprouts?  Would my life be better?"

The Greenskeeper in him liked this, but the Musician wanted to commit suicide. "You can't look back, man," the musician said.  "Just keep moving."

The Air Traffic Controller/Respiratory Therapist/Bartender/Greenskeeper/Musician/Radio Control Pilot/Christmas Light Enthusiast couldn't seem to get past it so he pondered some more.  "What if I had been that porn star I always dreamt of becoming? Is it too late?"

"You don't have the equipment," the Bartender said.  "Move on."

The Air Traffic Controller/Respiratory Therapist/Bartender/Greenskeeper/Musician/Radio Control Pilot/Christmas Light Enthusiast, dejected now, thought, "Maybe I should have gone back to school and become the real pilot I always wanted to be?  That would be cool."

The Christmas Light Enthusiast in him said, "Yeah!  You'd be able to see the Christmas lights from space!  Get over it.  Move on."

The Air Traffic Controller/Respiratory Therapist/Bartender/Greenskeeper/Musician/Radio Control Pilot/Christmas Light Enthusiast suddenly realized he could be anybody he wanted to be.  As long as it didn't involve doing something he loved.  As long as he could stumble through life, bored and unsatisfied, the sky was the limit!  There would be nothing that would hold him back.  Sitting and pondering where his new found attitude would take him, he suddenly had an epiphany.  "What if I do absolutely nothing?  That would be cool.  I'm close to retirement (ha), maybe I'll just start early."

The NON Air Traffic Controller/Respiratory Therapist/Bartender/Greenskeeper/Musician/Radio Control Pilot/Christmas Light Enthusiast WIFE said, "Bullshit, you need to work!"

So, he just decided to write.  Go figure.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The Jags sit atop the AFC South for the first time in quite awhile.  Should we be excited?  Run outside and bang pots and pans with spoons yelling "Go Jaguars!"?  My neighbor across the street does this whenever the Gators win.  She has been suspiciously quiet this year. 

I think I'll wait to celebrate just a little longer.

It can be said that the 'Cardiac Cats' have been back over the last couple of weeks with two last second almost miracle wins that in the past, the old Jags would surely have lost.  A little luck has seemed to drop in their laps and I'm holding my breath hoping it will continue.  I do believe, though,  that if they are still atop the AFC South in a couple of weeks, the Jaguars stand a very good chance of making the playoffs. 

The defense has been playing better, even with the loss of Kampman, as the increase in sacks and interceptions has been fun to watch.  MJD had a great game and it's nice to see him juking and jiving down the field dragging linebackers along with him.  Great Job  Jags!  Keep it up.  We love ya!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weather, whether, and we're there, Part 2

Today we'll continue with POV (point of view) concepts.  If you haven't read Part 1 you'll find it here.  Let's dive right in:

Peter and Annie held hands as they stared into one another's eyes.  They both knew their love for each other would overcome Peter's addiction to cheeseburgers.
As he reached for the half pound Thickburger, Annie said, "Don' don't need this.  I love you."  He sighed and placed his hand back in hers.  He cried.  She slowly brushed the tears from his cheek and kissed him softly there.  It only made him cry that much harder.

Ok.  Besides making the reader vomit, what's wrong with this passage?  For starters, if the author is writing from a third person perspective, how can he/she convey knowledge belonging to both characters?  The second sentence tells the reader both characters believe their love will overcome Peter's addiction.
What about the rest of the passage.  Nothing's wrong with it as it stands, but if you look over the whole paragraph again, other then the author inferring their profound love, the rest of the sentences only convey action or dialogue without letting the reader know whose head we are in.  Can the reader tell whose point of view the story is being told from with just this limited information?  He/she may guess, but truthfully, no.  Let's try and fix it.  First we'll tell the story from Peter's POV:

Peter and Annie held hands as they stared into one another's eyes.  He knew she loved him more than anything and because of that love, he was sure she would help him overcome his addiction to cheeseburgers.
As he reached for the half pound Thickburger, a craving stronger than any he'd felt before overtook him.  He thought he might even kill for just a bite.
Annie said, "Don' don't need this.  I love you."
He sighed and placed his hand back in hers.  He cried.
She slowly brushed the tears from his cheek and kissed him softly there.  It only made him cry that much harder.

Not great, but workable.  Let's try it from Annie's POV:

Annie held Peter's hand and stared into his eyes.  Her love for him was so strong she knew in her heart he'd be able to beat his addiction, if only he would let her help.
His gaze shifted from hers and the wanting look in his eyes frightened her as he reached for the cheeseburger.
"Don't", she said.  "You don't need this.  I love you."
He sighed, but placed his hand back in hers.  She thought she saw a hint of anger just before he began to cry.  She slowly brushed the tears from his cheek and kissed him softly there.  It only made him cry that much harder.

A little better I think.

Just because we want to be careful not to confuse the reader doesn't mean we never shift point of view.  There are times when the message cannot be conveyed from a few lines of dialogue or body language alone.  It just needs to be set apart so the reader knows the shift has happened.  Usually acceptable practices are a new chapter, a shift in time, or a break in the chapter represented by 3 asterisks or 3 to 4 spaces.

Another problematic issue involves how many different POV's you want to have in the story.  Too many will often lead to overload on the reader's part as they try to keep track of all the characters. Usually getting into 4 or 5 characters heads is plenty to tell the story.  Be careful with more.  You could lose the reader.

On the other hand staying inside only one character's head (third person limited or first person) can be quite beneficial, though a little creativity is needed to get certain information to the reader.  J.K. Rowling loved this point of view and used it in her Harry Potter series exclusively.  She rarely left Harry's head, but with her own world and all its charm at her disposal, she could create certain aspects that allowed the reader to recieve information to help the story along.  For instance the invisibilty cloak.  Harry could evesdrop on any conversation or action she deemed necessary to propel the story forward.  Normally a different POV would need to be used for the information to get to the reader.  Pretty cool.

I love the line from 'Pirates of the Carribean' when they talk about 'the code', how it's more a set of guidelines than actual rules.  So true.  Poetic liscense  lets the author pretty much do whatever he/she wants, and if it serves the story, so be it.  Many authors abuse POV and are very succesful.  When I see a famous author make what is considered a POV error, it is hard for me to decide whether they are being lazy, have no idea they've made it, just don't care, or have an editor who lets it slide.  In either case, if it propels the story is it up to me to be critical?  I think not.  The story is the story.  Unfortunately, as a rookie writer, I must obey the guidelines along with making the story the story.  At least until I become good enough at this to break the rules and not care.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I don't know

Do musicians make better lovers?  Do soccer players make better spaghetti?  Do writers paint better paintings?  I don't know.  Who the heck really cares?

What I want to know is if a musician plays more music will he be better?  Not necessarily at lovemaking, but better at let's!  It would make sense, wouldn't it?  If a lover practices his/her trade will they be better at it down the road?  Couldn't hurt.  Sometimes I practice a lot with myself.  If I wrote about a soccer player who paints pictures of spaghetti, would the musician love more?  Once again who cares?

Most professionals know that if they want to become better at their respective talents, they must practice, practice, practice.  If a writer wants to be better, he must plagiarize, plagiarize,, practice, practice.  Please don't get the wrong idea, I'm trying to be cute.  Anyway, the only real way to become prolific at what you do is to keep doing what you do.  Over and over again.  Simple enough.

What I failed to understand was I needed to write NEW stuff, not the same thing over and over again.  The point I'm trying to make is now that I'm in the self-editing process of my manuscript, I feel like I'm writing the same things over and over again.  Going over the same paragraphs again and again, changing a word here, deleting a paragraph there, dropping that awesome sex scene because it just doesn't propel the story forward (it was fun to write though).  How many times do I need to change things? 

Some folks who have been doing this a hell of a lot longer than I say you should never start a new project until the old one is finished.  What if the musician played the same song over and over and over again?  Yes, his technique and knowledge of the notes would probably be almost perfect, but over time everything would get stale.  The music would sound wooden, bereft of emotion or feeling.  Plus this person would almost certainly want to kill themselves, probably by tying a rope to a cinder block and jumping off of a pier while thoughts of cheeseburgers danced in their head.  How many times could you stand playing 'The girl from Ipanema' on your kazoo?

So, I'll probably move on.  Oh I'm not done with the first novel.  It still needs a lot of work, but if I'm going to get any better at this, I need to write, write, write.

I'm feeling a little anxious now, so maybe the lover in me better go practice, practice, practice.  Probably alone.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Idea

When most famous authors are interviewed, they are always asked, "Where do you get your ideas?"  Their answers are usually either based on something profound or they are messing with the interviewer. 

"I fell and hit my head on the toilet and I had a vision of this...the flux capacitor." 

Wait...somebody already did that.  Anyway, for me it wasn't anything that dramatic, although to this day I still don't quite know why my brain wandered in the direction it did.  It went something like this:

I was standing in the bathroom, slipped and hit my head... Just kidding.  I was actually sitting in the bathroom, occupied with a daily function which for me seems more important than, say, breathing, when I decided it was time to write.  My friend at work had just published his first novel (well, not at that exact second) and after talking to him at length about it (once again, not at that exact second) I felt the urge (not that urge...OK let's get the hell out of the bathroom for this scene).

At work now, I went through in my mind an idea which had rattled around in my head for ten years or so.  It involved Air Traffic Controllers (write what you know) and terrorists.  But as I sat in the cafeteria, pen in hand, I couldn't seem to get very excited about it.  Maybe it was because I had thought about the idea off and on for so long, or maybe I didn't want to write about what I do every day.  Probably the latter.  So, I thought hard...thought a little harder...and finally just gave up.  Great start huh?

I went back to work.  And as I was telling some general aviation pilot he'd better climb better, an idea jumped into my head.  What if a guy, we'll call him Peter, was flying his plane and he had a mid-air with a vampire.  Inspiration!  I turned to the controller next to me and said, "Would you read a story about a pilot who had a mid-air with a vampire?"

He just looked at me and said, "No."

"What if the pilot was on a suicide mission, eating a cheeseburger, and he had a mid-air with a vampire?  Wouldn't that be cool?"

My friend rolled his eyes but did not respond.  OK...strike one.

The next day I'm back at work but on my break in the cafeteria again, reading the latest Lee Child novel and wishing I could tell a story like he can, when a thought occurred to me.  What if a bunch of kids at a special school were learning how to become wizards and they all decided to hijack an airplane and fly it to Istanbul, but on the way, they had a mid-air with a vampire who sparkled in the sunlight.  Yeah baby!  I jumped up and ran into the control room to tell my friend.

He told me to never talk to him again.  Dammit!  Strike two!  What the 'F'?

Later that night as I'm listening to some pop singer tell his girlfriend he was sorry, he couldn't afford a Ferrari, Zombies invaded my brain.  I called my friend and said, "What if Zombies took over the world but were later killed by vampires flying around in airplanes?"

'Click' and then a dial-tone.  Strike three!

Alright...enough.  What I'm getting at is for the most part, most writers don't just sit around trying to think up things to write about.  It usually happens as one lone arbitrary thought links up with another lone arbitrary thought and when the two are put together, something interesting usually occurs.  For me it just surfaced out of the blue while I was surfing on the internet.  One idea connected with another and presto, it spoke to me.  What was the idea?  When it gets closer to publishing time, I'll let you know.  I promise it has nothing to do with vampires, wizards, zombies or cheeseburgers.

Let's hear some of your ideas.  Ha!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weather, whether, and we're there, Part 1

Whether the weather impacts your daily life by interfering with your work, your fun, or prolongs your agony as the kids in the back keep asking if  "we're there", it still is an important part of life on this planet.  Without it we couldn't survive.  Personally it's all a perspective thing for me.

If it's thunderstorming outside, it usually means work will be somewhat unpleasant.  If it's broiling out, the pool could be quite pleasant.  If it happens to be snowing in Florida, there is a possibility the world is coming to an end, but more than likely it's just a fluke of nature.  Hurricanes, monsoons, nor'easters, all these phenomena could be detrimental or beneficial depending upon your perspective.

From the Encarta dictionary:  Perspective - a particular evaluation of a situation or facts, especially from one person's point of view.

One person's point of view.  Cool!  Who gets to be that person?  Do I get to chose?  Do you?  All kidding aside, my perspective on any given day could be worlds apart from your's.  Fortunately in fiction, point of view should usually be quite obvious.  It may not be something you think about while you read, but if it is not handled correctly, if may leave the reader with a feeling that something is not quite right.  For example:

Peter knew instinctively the weather was going to be horrible.  The climb needed to be delayed, but Peter had a feeling Annie would have none of that. 
"We're going," she said, "I'll be fine."  Annie couldn't help but think her husband was a wimp.
Peter shrugged his shoulders but thought today would be the last day of his pathetic life.

Right off the bat we know we're in Peter's head.  He knew instinctively the weather was bad.  He then tells us he believes Annie will not want to delay the climb just because of the weather.  The next part is the problem.  Annie makes a comment but then the author puts us into her head with the wimpy thought.  This is now a different point of view and in most editorial circles this is considered a no-no.  Finally the last sentence puts us back into Peter's head.  Three different point of view shifts in one small paragraph.  I've seen as many as 5 point of view shifts in one sentence.

When I started my first manuscript I had no idea about any of this and I made numerous, I mean hundreds, of these errors without realizing what I had done.  I wanted to make sure the reader knew if a character was feeling a certain way and this is usually why the error is made.  When I learned about the all important perspective, I spent most of the first edit fixing all of my POV (point of view) errors.  Some were easy and some were not.  Let's take the above example and fix it.

Peter knew instinctively the weather was going to be horrible.  The climb needed to be delayed, but Peter had a feeling Annie would have none of that. 
"We're going," she said, "Stop being such a wimp.  I'll be fine."
Peter shrugged his shoulders but thought today would be the last day of his pathetic life.

See...we never left Peter's head.  Annie was able to convey her feelings through the dialogue.  In some cases you can convey important information through action, like facial expressions or body language and some times you can just delete the offending item without any effect on the outcome.  Let's look at another example:

Peter wanted to die today.  He felt there was nothing left to live for, except maybe cheeseburgers, so he decided today would be the last day of his life.  He hoped Annie wouldn't hate him.  Suddenly, the door flew open.  Annie burst in and pointed a gun at Peter's head.  She hated him and had decided today would be the last day of his life.
"What the frick, Annie?" Peter asked.
"Shut up asshole!  I've had it up to here with your crap."
She fired the gun and smiled as Peter's brains splattered all over the wall.

We can fix this in a couple of different ways, the easiest being the quickest, deletion:

Peter wanted to die today.  He felt there was nothing left to live for, except maybe cheeseburgers, so he decided today would be the last day of his life.  He hoped Annie wouldn't hate him.  Suddenly, the door flew open.  Annie burst in and pointed a gun at Peter's head.
"What the frick, Annie?" Peter asked.
"Shut up asshole!  I've had it up to here with your crap."
She fired the gun.

Or we can use some body language:

Peter wanted to die today.  He felt there was nothing left to live for, except maybe cheeseburgers, so he decided today would be the last day of his life.  He hoped Annie wouldn't hate him.  Suddenly, the door flew open.  Annie burst in and pointed a gun at Peter's head, her face twisted in rage.
"What the frick, Annie?" Peter asked.
"Shut up asshole!  I've had it up to here with your crap."
She fired the gun.

Nobody actually came out and said Annie hated Peter, but the meaning is pretty well conveyed just by the act of her shooting him.  At the least the reader knows she's angry at him.

Tomorrow, in part 2, we'll look at some POV errors that are a little more subtle.  Hopefully the weather will be good.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

That all important first sentence

As a rookie writer, I don't have the luxury of relying on a fan base.  Actually, no one even knows I exist, so I'm being told that to pull the average reader to my story, I must grab their attention with the first sentence.  Something which will set the hook and leave the reader dying to know more.  Pretty simple, huh?  Let's try one.

    Peter stood at the end of the pier staring at the sunset, rope tied to his leg, cinder block in hand, thinking he could really go for a cheeseburger right about now.

Does this simple group of words strung together make you want to know more?  Why is Peter there?  Is he really going to commit suicide?  Is the story over before it even gets started?  What's the significance of the cheeseburger?  Probably not very thought provoking so let's try another one.

    Peter drove off the pier.

Ridiculous.  Or is it?  If I opened a book, read this first sentence, and was then distracted, would I eagerly return to it once my undivided attention could be devoted to it?  Maybe. 

    Peter reached for the volume control, and as he cranked the knob all the way to the right, the vehicle became air born, tossing his cheeseburger and milkshake onto the floor as the car dove off the end of the pier. 

Here's the cheeseburger again.  Was he drunk?  Did he get to eat any of the cheeseburger?  What was he listening to on the radio?  One more.

    Peter tore through the wrapper, devouring the cheeseburger as if it were his last meal, only to realize he had made a fatal mistake letting Jane drive his car.

Now this is more like it!  The cheeseburger's back.  Something fatalistic is about to happen.  Why is Peter so hungry and why would he let Jane drive if she sucked so bad?  Things to ponder.  I want to know more.

    See Peter run.

Yeah baby!  Doesn't get any better than that!  I mean, come on...I've got to know more.  Not only do I feel nostalgic at this simple three word gem, I get to wonder what Peter is running from.  Or is he running to something?  Did the author mean to use the name Peter instead of Dick, and if so, what is the significance of this?  In the sequel do we get to see Peter walk?  Or maybe swim?  Maybe it's a typo and it was supposed to read See Peter's urn.  Whatever, all I know is it's very thought provoking.

    Peter, allowing himself only the briefest moment of sadness, removes the cinder block from in front of the tire and watches as his Buick, Jane strapped into the driver's seat, slowly rolls off the end of the pier, cheeseburger in tow.  He cries.

Ok...that was two sentences...sorry.  I'll keep working on it.  I'd love to hear some of yours.


The Beginning

Somewhere along the lines I figured I needed to do this.  If I'm going to be a serious writer with serious dreams, serious fans, and serious bills, I better find a way to get on with it.  Just start.  That's all I have to do...just begin.  So, 8 months ago, I did just that.  Not that I hadn't tossed it around numerous times over the years, but for some reason it seemed time.  For some reason  it seemed right.  I pulled out the laptop, opened Word, and wrote the first sentence.

It was liberating.

3 and a half months later, I had 93,000 words stored on the hard drive and an excitement that was palpable.  My first manuscript.  It consumed me.  I had no idea what I was doing and I didn't really care.  I only knew that I had to get it out.  Once it started, there was no stopping it. It didn't matter if I had to use my breaks at work.  Didn't matter if I found myself waking in the middle of the night, the story rattling around in my head, begging me to put more of it down on paper.  Didn't matter that the grass went un-mowed or the pool turned green, whenever I had the chance, I wrote.

It was pure joy.  Some days I giggled, some days I cried, and some days I just smiled.  I was amazed at the process and giddy at how the story took on a life of its own.  It wrote itself. 

I'm not sure what I will put in this space, not sure how often I'll visit, but I am sure that whenever I do, I will not be too serious.  Who wants to be a serious writer with serious fans and serious bills?  It's too much fun.  I only hope I can keep it that way.


Richard Charles Hale