The Golden Theme

It's more than just an creating entertaining story, it's building a story that resonates.  If this new book by Brian McDonald is anything like his Invisible Ink, you will blown away by the structure he reveals for how to write a story with maximum impact. The best stories are not those that simply dazzle us with a car chase or wow us with clever dialog.  There…

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The Humble Improve

A fellow literary mind approaches with the frank question--how much experience do you have in your field?  "Oh well, I've been writing since I was ten." Which means, "I definitely know what I'm doing."  Any past success, whether it's a published story of mine, or encouraging feedback from a reader, easily lures me into the trap of thinking that I've "arrived" and finally know exactly what…


Make Positive Effort for the Good

Writing and life are inseparable.  I think this is why Natalie Goldberg applied the Zen lessons she learned to the practice of life, art, and writing.  This morsel of wisdom, the third and final in the list she shared at WOTS, reminds her audience to "make positive effort for the good." I almost seems too simple, too transparent.  Practically speaking,  Natalie used the example of forcing herself to…


Don’t Be Tossed Away

"We're sorry to inform you that your submission was not a good fit for our magazine.  Best of luck finding a place for it elsewhere."  Haven't we all been there?  There's no way I can avoid being refused or ignored when I take my art and show it to the masses.  Rejection is a fact of the writing life.  How in the world do I find ways to keep my…


Writing Down the Goldberg

I was entranced by the candid, encouraging and graceful presence of Natalie Goldberg earlier this month.  She spoke as the keynote at the Write on the Sound Writers' Conference in Edmonds, WA the first weekend of this month and the theater was packed.  Natalie is very famous for her book Writing Down the Bones.  She began her talking by jumping right into her process of discovering herself and becoming…



Some good friends of mine are an American and Canadian who got married and live nearby with their kids.  They invited me this last weekend to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with them.  A new feast day!  How awesome is that? How many traditional feasts do we get to celebrate in America culture?  Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, weddings for friends...Any other big feasts?  I would argue that feasts…


Family and All

I love my family.  I was home schooled up through most of high school and I learned a lot about getting along with people and loving someone despite all of their flaws before I had dated anyone.  I practiced a lot on my family.  Family, when it's strong, sticks with you through thick and thin and is a place of support Characters, unless they are loners…


Heroic Journey

When a hero or heroine sets out on The Quest, are we supposed to like them? I find myself wanting both things at once.  I want my protagonist to be likable enough that if she loses her way in a dark forest or breaks her arm from a fall, we experience empathy.  I want people to want her to win. In my attempts to make a charismatic…


Mythical Journeys

I've found it hard to get away from the attraction that Greek myths have held for me.  Ever since the morning I opened a thin black volume, containing easy-to-read paraphrases of Greek myths, I've been absolutely fascinated with the stories that always played with high stakes--stories that quite often (and usually more often than not) ended with a devastating tragedy. The unfairness of life was captured…


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