Saturday, February 25, 2012

Okay, gang, since my back hurts and I can't get the kitchen painted, I thought I'd update the ole blog. I came across a nice list of writer's tips from Henry Miller. During the 1932-33 era when he wrote his first published work Tropic of Cancer, Miller adhered to a strict writing discipline. Among these were 11 commandments. (Thanks to BrainPickings.org):


1) Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2) Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
3) Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4) Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5) When you can’t create you can work.
6) Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7) Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
8)Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9)Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10) Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11) Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

He also had a daily routine:

MORNINGS:If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.
If in fine fettle, write.

AFTERNOONS:
Work of section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.

EVENINGS:
See friends. Read in cafés.
Explore unfamiliar sections — on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry.
Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program.
Paint if empty or tired.
Make Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.
Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.

Thanks again to BrainPickings.org for this, and to The Creative Pen for letting me know about it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some brief notes and updates:

Bullet Rain, a short story I wrote for an anthology that never came about, will be released as an Ebook in the near future. I'm still working on that.

The Sheltering Tree, the third John Logan novel is in the editing phase and I'm awaiting to hear back to see how badly I messed up.

I've come a long way from the would-be writer who thought that a good writer got it perfect the first time. I've learned that no writer gets that prose right the first time. Writing a book is a long and ofttimes meticulous process that requires going back and fixing things. A scene that you wrote yesterday and thought it was perfect at the time will come back in the morning light to reveal a slew of bad grammar, punctuation, passive voice, or a host of other things. A scene that seemed to fit so good into your story last night will suddenly become a major plot problem or will create a plot hole big enough to drive a truck through.

Admittedly, there are a few (and I mean few) writers who write pretty clean prose the first time around. Lawrence Block (by his own admission) comes to mind but, come on, he's been doing this for fifty years.

Saturday was a busy day as I painted the living room. The kitchen is scheduled for next Saturday so we'll see how it goes. I'm taking Sunday easy--church and writing and hockey. It's back to the office tomorrow because (and this may surprise you) many of us writers have day jobs.

So have a good week. Read a good book and I'll talk to you soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012




COPP FOR HIRE by Don Pendleton


It was with great joy that I learned of the reissue of the Joe Copp series by Executioner series author Don Pendleton. Pendelton was the first author who inspired me as a young man to maybe try this thing called writing. His pulp style combining hard action, a touch of sex (perfect for a pre adolescent boy), and his fast prose, hooked me so much that I read all 38 of the Executioner books before Don quit writing them in 1980. He licensed Mack Bolan to another publisher and then started writing the Joe Copp books.


It's pure detective noir. The setting is more modern but Copp is right out of the Chandler genre. Tough, rugged, with a code of morality all his own. Like Marlowe, Copp finds himself pursuing a case with no client...just his own sense of justice and to make sure things are set right.


My only complaint was the formatting. I had the Kindle version and the formatting was downright awful at times. That is on the publisher, not the author, though.


If you like the detective noir, check it out.