Conant Gardens Readers

{January 8, 2013}  

Write Your Story

Conant Gardens Readers



So what do you write about? What stories do you come up with? How do your ideas emerge? What is your inspiration? Can you just write a story, poem or a prose? If you are the creative being as I am, then you already know that you have the intuition to develop your craft. You have read the stories of others and you have said to yourself, “If they can do it, well so can I”. You also have that dream particle already sparkling in your brain. Now get your pen, pencil, and paper ready. Put that dictionary and thesaurus in front of you, you are going to need it. Turn the computer on and load up Microsoft Word. Now brainstorm.

What’s brainstorming you say? Brainstorming is just jotting your ideas down and in no particular order or sequence. It’s just like mapping out the story…

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{January 2, 2013}   Writing your story



So what do you write about? What stories do you come up with? How do your ideas emerge? What is your inspiration? Can you just write a story, poem or a prose? If you are the creative being as I am, then you already know that you have the intuition to develop your craft. You have read the stories of others and you have said to yourself, “If they can do it, well so can I”. You also have that dream particle already sparkling in your brain. Now get your pen, pencil, and paper ready. Put that dictionary and thesaurus in front of you, you are going to need it. Turn the computer on and load up Microsoft Word. Now brainstorm.

What’s brainstorming you say? Brainstorming is just jotting your ideas down and in no particular order or sequence. It’s just like mapping out the story; scenes, characters, storyline, plot, conflict, and situations; these ideas are quickly jotted on paper. Map out your story is not as easy as it sounds but it has to be done. When you map out a story, you put it in a sequence. I will illustrate more of the MAPPING process later. Back to brainstorming; it is like dreaming with your eyes open. Are you dreaming of the story you want to write? How does the dream begin? How does it end? What happens in the middle of the dream? In brainstorming, your story is not finalized. It’s only a draft. You are actually just throwing ideas on the paper. It becomes like a puzzle. You are settling the pieces on a table once they are out of the box; positioning them into place, unscrambling them, and slowing snapping the sequences of the story in the order that you want them to appear. Writers follow the yellow brick road of story writing. Then they move on!


Some people need some form of inspiration to write. Some need to be told what to write, since they don’t know themselves. Many novice writers will not write until they have a mental urge to write. Some writers will be waiting, trying to pace themselves, and wasting time while waiting. Don’t be like this. Look inside of yourself, it will come. Don’t think about it, just write.

Do you daydream? Where do your dreams take you? If so what about? I use to daydream a lot when I was young. These daydreams overwhelmed me. They took away my playtime. I would sit for hours and cast my mind beyond my neighborhood. I went to California with all sorts of characters. I rebuilt invisible lives, and made my characters travel to the ends of the earth and back again. Most of your dreams will spin from the mind’s eye. The part of the brain that sees what the dreamer sees, and sees with bursts of energy.

I took my daydreams from my mind’s eye and wrote short stories. In my books, my characters are real enough to envision them when they are in emotional turmoil, chaos, and periods of supreme joy, or even on an adventure. You have to be the first person to see your story in your mind’s eye from start to finish. You have to know what they look like, what happens to them, where they are, and how they get from place to place. You are the one who tells the reader what happens in the story. You put the dream in someone else’s head. You flash the images in front of the reader’s eyes. They must see this dream of yours come alive. Don’t just tell the story without being visual. The blind person may not see, but they know what fierce wind sounds like, what heat feels like, what sugar tastes like, how rough the pavement is, compared to the touch of grass. Don’t underestimate your reader’s ability to see the creativity of your craft, and only because it’s written in words. They have an imagination too!

 The readers  read only what you  have in store  for your characters, and yes, are interested in what happens to them. The hard part is how to keep your readers with you. If the story is good, you don’t have to worry about the reader’s interest. There are of course readers of all kinds. I write for young adults. I love involving teenagers in my stories, although I don’t care to involve them in situations they cannot get out of. I help them get out of turmoil and chaos. I put inspiration in their lives. How you depict your characters will be the life or death for your readers, and will kill the storyline of your book, therefore you must keep your readers always in awe.

I recently read the ‘Widow of the South’, by Robert Hicks, ‘Family’, by J. California Cooper, and ‘Kindred’ by Octavia Butler, and they told their stories that kept me in awe. I wanted to read more and more chapters each night. But that’s not my way of reading. I read a chapter or two, sometimes three a night. Then I STOP! I like to absorb the action in my mind gradually. If I finish the book in one night, then I can’t dream about the next chapter’s events. But that’s me. I like to soak up the chapters like a sponge. I review and re-play certain scenes and particular dialogues in my head until I get ready for the next couple of chapters.   

A good story is like a good pizza. Delicious and so full of flavor, that you want that same pizza repeatedly. Some stories are so overwhelming, that you desire to keep reading that particular genre. I don’t read much romance stories, science fiction, or thrillers. Those stories have a certain audience. The authors obviously tell a story to keep their audience wanting more. Nora Roberts is a fantastic writer as we all know. Her romance novels also have a marketable audience. But my audiences are those who like to see a child resolve their dilemmas with the help of another. My characters are often rescued by caring adults. The scenes in my stories are very visual. I like vivid descriptions. I like to visualize the scenes as I write. I like a serious, yet sometimes humorous dialogue. I like an emotional dialogue that sometimes transcends a tear down my cheek. Emotion is very important to a good writer.

Novice writers need to find mentoring authors. Authors who save them time and won’t spin them into confusion when they are trying to decide what genre to follow. My mentoring authors are Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Harriet Beecher-Stowe, Robert Hicks, Charles Johnson, Khalil Gibran, Margret Walker, Octavia Butler, J. California Cooper, and a few others. Whom do you read? What genre are they? I truly believe that these authors read the work of other authors prior to writing their craft. They have a huge knowledge base in their repertoire of stories. I have read various books in order to visualize  author’s ideas as if they are forming their ideas in front of me. My favorite authors taught me how to write. I have learned some of their techniques. You must learn the techniques of others as well. Follow by example at first, then use your own way of expressing yourself.

To finalize this step, MAP out your story. MAPPING is easy. MAPPING is different from brainstorming. You already got the idea for your story. You are no longer jotting down more ideas, you are MAPPING. Write down your characters and their names first. Then the setting. Where are these characters? Are they in a city or town, on a boat, in a house, or traveling somewhere? What is actually happening to the character? Action must be the the first  priority when writing a storyline. Are they in trouble, on an adventure, dying, being born in a certain era, or are they having issues with people, situations, or themselves. How do they resolve their conflicts? Would the reader agree with how the character fairs out? If the reader was in a similar situation, would the outcome be the same? Do the characters hold the reader’s attention enough for them to finish your book? This is a very important demand. There must be a flow or sequence of events that keeps the reader turning to the next page.

Shall I move on?

{August 12, 2012}   Back and on Focus

Yes, after some time off, I am here and back on focus. Authors need that momnet but they must get back on tract. It may take a year or even a couple of months, but you have to find your way back home. Can you find your way back home?

Since I am now on focus, I am starting a writer’s group, but I want it to be fun and very active. People who join must share not only themselves but their writing as well, so that’s the rub, sharing yourself in public, can people do it?

{July 15, 2011}   Be your own storyteller

You should sit quietly and just be your own storyteller. Create the characters, setting, conflict, and resolution by just brainstorming and let your mind tell you a story on its own, can you try this idea?

{March 9, 2011}   ISBN And Publishing

I first tried the SUBSIDY PRESS publishing companies to learn the publishing business. I had to start somewhere. And many people have followed the same route. There’s nothing wrong with that. You have to start somewhere and learn how to publish your CRAFT by understanding the steps involved. This is the part where most people are get scared. I don’t blame them. That leap is like leaping off a cliff, not knowing if the water below is shallow or deep. If you ever saw the movie ‘Titanic’, you will understand the fears the passengers had when they had to take that astounding leap. They didn’t know if they would survive or be swallowed up by the freezing depth of the Antarctic waters. I’m scared just reading that part. But you have to take a good BREATH and hold it. Then LEAP!
The SUBSIDY PRESS will cost money. Doesn’t everything in the publish business? Have a budget ready. I illustrate that later. Do your research first. The most prominent SUBSIDY PUBLISHERS are: Durrance, Tate, Vantage Press, Author House, and a few others. Now what is the difference between SUBSIDY AND VANITY PUBLISHING? Not much really, but let me explain what I know.
I will explain the VANITY PRESS publishing first, mainly because you hear of these houses the most. VANITY PRESSES are publishing or printing houses that print an AUTHOR’S book at the sole cost of the AUTHOR. The overhead cost is more expensive than self-publishing. The rights and completed works are, yes, of course yours. You retain ownership of what you just produced, meaning your story. All sales and profit is yours minus the charges for the editing, formatting into book form, cover design, and the time and amount of paper put into the printing process. They will publish almost any kind of work, so if you wrote quality, then you deserve quality. VANITY PRESSES don’t screen necessarily for the quality which I am hoping your writing is.
What about SUBSIDY PUBLISHING? Some people haven’t heard of the SUBSIDY PRESS publishing. Well, it is the same as VANITY PRESS PUBLISHNG, except they may include the price of editing, distribution, and marketing in a lavish package or two. In other words they dress it up like an extravagate evening gown, or a tailored tuxedo. If you like the packages, then they have just enticed you into their publishing houses as a baby is teased with a lollipop. The downside is that the completed books are the property of the publishing house, which OWNS the ISBN, the AUTHOR receives a royalty (not much money as the AUTHOR deserve).
SELF-PUBLISHING is what most novice AUTHORS are investing in. With SELF-PUBLISHING, the AUTHORS pays all COSTS for publishing their work. The AUTHOR has their say in who edits the work, designs the cover, prints the pages, distributes the work to the markets and they do most of the marketing themselves. This way of publishing is cost-effective because the AUTHOR finds people to edit their work at a cheaper rate, find their own book cover designers, and use printers and distributors that offer better deals than the VANITY or SUBSIDY publishers do. Most importantly, the AUTHOR is the sole owner of the work, not only by owning the rights to their work, but also by purchasing their own ISBN for the work, and this is the best reward by far. The AUTHOR, in the end, reaps about 80% of the sales after the contributed costs.
MANY WRITERS BELIEVE THE SUBSIDY AND VANITY PUBLISHING is interchangeable, meaning they are similar in what they protest to do for the AUTHOR. If you chose this route in which you wish to venture, that’s your decision. I like to set sail in my own SELF-PUBLISHING boat. I like to control my WRITER’S CRAFT. I set aside money to see my work sail across the seas of the world. I make time for the editors, cover designers, printer and distribution quotes, and above all, I arrange the marketing schemes that will be used to sell my books.

If your get your own ISBN number for your work, you own your WRITER’S CRAFT. This number is yours, and no one can rob you of your sales. You become your own PUBLISHER! It will cost between $125 and $250, but you’ll probably pay a fraction of that same amount in editing costs, cover designing, distribution, and in marketing.
Visit; and pay for the single ISBN number, or purchase a block of ISBN numbers. If you are going to write a number of books, then the block of 10 ISBNs is right for you. The ISBN number simply identifies the titles of your books and identifies the publisher (which is YOU THE AUTHOR) for ordering purposes. It must contain 13-digits, therefore if you find a site giving less than 13-digits are bogus sites, and you need to beware of any ‘thieves in the night’.
SUBSIDY/VANITY PRESSES will ASSIGN or SELL YOU one of THEIR ISBNs, and yes, at $10-50 per book. But remember, they will tell you that “YOU RETAIN ALL RIGHTS”, which is unfortunately misleading. You are actually BORROWING the ISBN. You don’t own it, so a book retailer will go to the ISBN holder (PUBLISHER) to buy a bulk of your books, and you get the contracted royalty which you agreed upon in your signing of the contract.
If your book contract with your SUBSIDY PRESS PUBLISHER ends, the ISBN for the book that they PUBLISED, which the ISBN number was already assigned to this SUBSIDY PRESS PUBLISHER, then the book stays with them, therefore your book is not like luggage, you can’t take it with you. I know this by experience.
My advice to you is own your OWN ISBN number. In the 70 years after your death, your children and perhaps their children can profit from your CRAFT. There is nothing wrong by leaving your WRITER’S CRAFT to your future generations. I would love to have Charles Dickens or Shakespeare, hey even the satiric poet Dante as my kin. I would show the talents of these CRAFTERS with my head held high and pride crowning my chest as I boast about them.
Lastly, don’t forget the BARCODE(S)! Yes this is necessary for your ISBN numbers. Retailers and booksellers scan these codes to give information to their computers, as to, who is the PUBLISHER and how to order more books for sell. is the place I used to purchase these codes. This site charges $89 for one barcode. If you already have your ISBN number, you can have it placed on the BARCODE, and printed on labels in quantities of 90, for about $60. A great deal! There are other sites to purchase these BARCODE(S). Research the web for the best prices, and then choose the site(s) which will best suit your needs.
Now go ahead and take the next step, and don’t get exhausted yet. We got to move forward. Take a deep breath and put one foot forward, then the next. We came a long way, so just a few more steps and we would have reached the top of our first mountain. Ready? No? Well, move on anyway. I pushing you and you will thank me later!

{March 9, 2011}   Before You Submit

Once you have finished WRITING your precious chapters, revising, proofreading, and taking care of all the necessary editing, you might be ready to submit your WORK to a printer or a publishing house, or are you?
Once the manuscript of your STORY is ready to be published, you are also ready to change your STATUS. You will no longer be considered just a WRITER, but now you will be called a PUBLISHED AUTHOR. Therefore, you know that you have to PROTECT your work. Not PROTECTING your CRAFT is absolutely LUDICRIS! All your work was not done in VAIN! This is what you have you have sweated many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and perhaps years over, right? You had an Idea, a creation, a CRAFT, and now you want to gift-wrap it for your readers. If this is true, then for your sake, PROTECT what you have written. How do you do that? Follow the next step. COPYRIGHT IT!
My work was important to me. All those ideas were mine. The characters breathe through me, and I through them. The setting was my utopia society, no matter how serene or violent it may have been. It was the world, society, existence in which I created in my mind’s eye. It was my perfection, and no one else’s. My story was like a unique child; vulnerable. I had to hover over it and shield it from any type of peril. Therefore, I was certainly going to make sure my readers knew that it was ‘I’ who wrote my story; therefore I had to patent this invention of words and COPYRIGHT it at the first available moment!

There are three basic ways to COPYRIGHT your CRAFT.
1. After I finished my manuscript, I MAILED it to MYSELF and put it in my fireproof file cabinet when it was delivered by the postmaster. No, I never RE-OPENED it. If you open the envelope, you would have just broken the seal in which would have protected your RIGHTS as the owner. Only the AUTHOR of the manuscript knows what is inside, therefore if you maintain the seal, you maintain your ownership. So MAIL yourself your own manuscript, let yourself sign for it, then put it in a safe deposit box at your bank, or under lock and key in a fireproof safe in your own home. You won’t regret it believe me. Sounds silly? Not to an experienced judge in a court of law it won’t.
2. I also SENT my manuscript to the Library of Congress Copyrighting office. Manually you can FILE your rights directly. You can request a form from the Library of Congress. This form assures you that your work is registered and cannot be PLAGARIZED. This method of course can take up to six months to get a CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION. But once you received the CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION, you will frame it like the degrees in a doctor’s or lawyer’s office. I framed the one for my book, ‘The Passing of Mother Mary’.
3. If you want a faster route, then thank God for the invention of computers and the internet. Go to the number one, and possibly the most trusting copyrighting site: Here is where you want to COPYRIGHT your stories, poems, novellas, novels, songs, plays, screenplays . . . etc. DO NOT go to any other site. Yes, other sites will file the paperwork for you. But, how lazy are you really? You just wrote a novel and you are too lazy to do the paperwork yourself to protect what you wrote? Just stop right here then. Go no farther. All other WRITERS who really want to be published, this is the route to take. The other web sites will be the ‘mediator sites’; They take your money with their $10-30 profits and register the book for you. However, If you do it the right way, you will be happier when you receive the CERTIFICATION OF REGISTRATION in the mail in about 6-8 weeks. That’s your trophy for all your efforts, and yes for the novice WRITER, that’s worth a bottle of champagne. I had my glass of joy when I received the first CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION. It was my academy award for best personal achievement. You will be in the flood of tears as I was, so get COPYRIGHTED!
Now that the WRITER’S CRAFT is mine by law, I can sue for plagiarism. I once thought, why do I have to protect my WORK once it is published? Who else can I trust to pursue my all of my efforts? We have finished the CRAFT, protected it, and now, we want promote our CRAFT through publishing.
This next step has a crack in it. We must climb this step very carefully, or we’ll end up falling back down to Step 1. Have faith, we will continue to climb. This is our destiny, we already waited too long.
The life of a WRITER ends when a WRITER puts their pen down, puts the paper away, and vowed not to READ any more BOOKS! This is of course, an abomination, but I was ready to do just that. I nearly fell off this next step. Now, I would rather learn from my mistakes and try again. I have failed so many tasks, that failure was an option, but for the first time in my life, I wanted prove myself wrong. I wanted to learn that my WRITER’S CRAFT was nothing to be ashamed of, and I could take one more breath and leap without looking back.
This next step is called the WRITER’S LEAP. You need faith, strength, and the will power not to turn around. If you fall on this step, for GOD’S SAKE, GET BACK UP! You can cry, scream, and yell, but don’t STOP your CRAFT!
At this point, you are no longer just a WRITER, you are, or about to be a published AUTHOR, so that’s what I have to refer my WRITERS as; AUTHORS!
Take a deep breath. Hold the air inside. Concentrate. Blow your sigh out slowly. Now, STEP FORWARD. God Bless you WRITERS! Ooops, AUTHORS!

{March 9, 2011}   RECAP

Here’s where we now take the time to learn how to RECAP. All we have learned must be broken down. To RECAP is to review. I use these steps when I write. I am RECAPPING those which are most important to focus on.
1. IDEAS. Find out if you are a WRITER by taking a few hours alone; perhaps while you are driving a long distance, sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting in line at the bank, or even doing your Sunday chores, by daydreaming about the place you always wanted to visit, meet and romance the person you always wanted to meet and be romanced by, change the life or situation of someone you know, or even dream about encouraging someone in a bad predicament, how about resolving an issue, but in your own way. If you think about one of these things, then you can write about it and in your own poetic way.
2. READ. READING other author’s work helps WRITERS to daydream as the author did before he/she wrote and published their stories. You’ll find so much information about the CRAFT of another WRITER as you READ their work. The imaginative places, people, worlds, situations, drama surrounding a character’s life, can stimulate the WRITER’S CRAFT in you; the future WRITER. By READING other books, you can put yourself in one of the character’s spot. You can feel what the character feels, see what the character sees, and understand what happens to the character from start to finish. By READING the works of others, you enhance your creativity, and you learn to WRITE and WRITE well.
3. MAPPING/BRAINSTORM. When you are ready to WRITE your story, the first step is to brainstorm and MAP out your story with the preliminaries. MAP out the characters involved in your story. What do they look like from head to toe, sound like, act like; where are they from, and where will they end up in your story? What situations are they in from start to finish? Describe the setting. Be vivid. MAP your story from the point of a narrator or the character. Chose the POV (Point of View) wisely. Use the dialogue of the era within the story. Watch the usage of words which reflect the timeframe of your story. Finally watch the flashbacks and the prompts. Don’t keep a mental note on the objects or prompts used in your story. (prompts; ie. a diary, gun, newspaper article, jewelry, etc.) Have a notebook (the same one you use to brainstorm) ready to recap the objects used to explain an occurrence or something to help the reader understand what’s happening.
4. STORYLINE. It is your STORY that must be adored. You must WRITE for yourself first. If the STORY is good as you wrote it, your audience will be just as entertained. Use all your tools to enhance your CRAFT; use the dictionary, thesaurus, and your own way of wording phrases and telling a story. One of the greatest mistakes is to WRITE in anger or for vindication. Your readers are not the source of your pain. Therapeutic writing is good for you, but it may target an audience unnecessarily.
5. WRITING. Now just WRITE the story. Use your time wisely. The biggest mistake is to rush your story. The readers will catch your mistakes if you don’t. Learn the vocabulary necessary to complete your story. You must consider your audience when you WRITE. If you are WRITING for adults, then use the language which adults can relate. If WRITING for a child, then use age-appropriate language. If you’re WRITING fiction, remember to hook your readers from chapter to chapter. Don’t leave any information out. Don’t leave the readers hanging in awe or confusion. Don’t worry about the amount of pages or the amount of words. Stick to the storyline. Don’t focus on the ending. The story will end up writing itself. Take your time, because a good story must be seasoned, like a pregnant woman. The birth of a baby is never too late, so your story will be likewise; it will be come out marvelous in its own timing.
6. EDIT/REVISE. Now that you have finished your story, you have to either it EDIT yourself or find an EDIT. Using your family members is really a bad idea. Family members may take their time reading your story when you have a time frame in mind to have your project completed. Try using a college student from a local college or university. College students who are in their senior year can be contacted through the college’s English professors. These students don’t know you and therefore are unbiased when they READ your material. J.K. Rowling did the same with her book series, ‘Harry Potter’. She allowed students from a nearby school READ her story, and it was next spread by word of mouth that got her started. I am DYSLEXIC, thus I have a few proofreaders on standby, and I am not ashamed to use them. If you can EDIT your story yourself, that’s great, but there is nothing wrong with another set of eyes. As most WRITER’S know, there are errors that seem to creep into every story, I remember seeing one in ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ by Harriet Beecher Story, and we know how old that story is. The errors in that novel didn’t destroy the storyline now did it? Our goal is to get the story 99% free of errors.
7. COMPLETED. Once you have a FINISH manuscript with all the corrections, let a proofreader READ it. The proofreader should be one who READS. If you choose one of your family members or a friend, make sure they are avid readers. You want a proofreader that can give you a positive, yet unbiased review. Remember, that you are the one who should be the first READER. I have READ my books several times before publishing them. I like the stories that I wrote. I like the storylines, descriptions, and of course my characters. If I am impressed with my book, I know my readers will also. My story is now complete and I am pleased with the results. I can now publish my story. I am a WRITER and I WRITE. If you are a WRITER, then you will start a WRITING project and see it through until its completion. You will be just as pleased as I was when mine was completed.
So if you are a WRITER, then WRITE, and follow these steps thoroughly until your story is fully completed. If you have this dream of WRITING inside of you, now you have to let it liberate your soul. Do it now, not later! You just climbed the FIRST CRUCIAL STEPS of the WRITER’S CRAFT. Take another deep breath, because now you have to climb the following PUBLISHING steps. You can do it just as I have done. Okay so let’s go, Let’s climb a few more steps. Ready or not I’m moving forward.

{January 24, 2011}   DRAFTING



When I write a story, it comes directly from my head. I just type it. I already know what is happening in each chapter as if it was already been written before. Some cannot do that. If you are one of these people, then don’t worry about it so much; it’s no big deal really.

Although I do at times, have to map the story details down in a small black journal. In that journal are my notes on the characters, setting, storyline, intricate details, and the prompts that I need to remember. I ALWAYS SAVE my work on disk, or floppy, or flash drive. I read the first copy of my manuscript at least six times before doing a total revision or saving the second draft. This is your next step.


After scribbling intricate notes about a storyline or idea, I usually begin to map out the details of the storyline and its characters. Next I try to figure out my setting. Then I develop various descriptions including the sensory details, plot, and conflicts. This is an example of a route I may take, but not for every story. You are ready to WRITE or have you written the first draft already?.

So now what?

Read what you have written. Does it make sense? Does it (story) flow? Did you answer any questions that need to be answered? Remember you’re not only going to be the WRITER of this manuscript, you are also the first reader. Thus you must determine how does it sound to you? If you don’t like it, will your readers?

So now what?

Read it again slowly this time, and try to visualize what you have written and REVISE the story to where it makes even more sense. How many times do you read the story? Less than six times means you are a lazy WRITER and so will your story be as well. Don’t be LAZY! You wanted to WRITE a story, right? ‘Then do it right, or not at all!’ as my grandmother would say. 

If you are like me, DYSLEXIC, then try READING what you have written first. Then you should allow an experienced proofreader to be the next person reviewing your manuscript. I will say it again; I REFUSE to let any limitations stop me from WRITING and a proofreader will always be my best evaluator.

REVISING is not a bad thing. If you have to take out paragraphs or change a phrase or two, then do just that. Spelling, grammar, and punctuality means a lot to a manuscript. Spelling must be accurate. Using a computer in these times is a useful thing. With Microsoft Word, corrections are immediately corrected and sometimes the software will correct as you type. With a computer nowadays, you can write your first draft of your story, and change words on a page or in a paragraph more rapidly if there is a need. So ‘thank God’ for the world’s computers.

SAVING your work on the computer, floppy, and flash drive should be a major PRIORTY. Always SAVE the FIRST DRAFT, so that you can compare it with your second DRAFT. Then attempt to re-write the REVISED portions of your manuscript. By SAVING the 1st DRAFT and then completing the REVISION, you can learn to WRITE, and WRITE better each time.

You shouldn’t need a proofreader to help with your first draft. Some writers can’t live without proofreaders. I say, why should they? A second set of eyes can put a WRITER at an advantage.

Using family members to proofread is usually not a good idea, so I’ve learned. Most family members are bias. They don’t want to upset you, so they will encourage your writing with their best intentions. I have been writing since the age of fourteen. Some family and friends have read some of my work. Some of them really liked it, but only a few have encouraged me to continue my CRAFT. There are other family members who still haven’t read any my books at all. This is not because they don’t like me, but because they don’t READ books. Not all of your family members or friends will be a part of your fan club. Sorry, but that’s the reality folks! Thus never focus on what they will READ. WRITE for you first!

Allow your first true reader of your story to be someone outside your inner circle. Proofreaders who are not family, friends, or associates may be just what you need to give you an objective review. Be open to their suggestions. Always advise that person that this is your first draft, and that you are lenient and able to revise your work if necessary.

After everything is read and corrected to your satisfaction, now move on. You have done well this far and even I am proud of your efforts. I, a DYSLEXIC, can so far and I will not stop now, nor should you. You have a good manuscript, wonderful story and now a fine novel. So take a huge leap of faith and publish what you have written. Publish it for yourself first, family and friends second, and third make some money. CONGRADULATIONS, YOU ARE A WRITER! But “don’t get cocky yet, it aint over yet kid,” as Hans Solo says in Star Wars.

Before you climb any more steps, let’s rest and do some deep breathing. Let’s recap what we have learned. Writers do have to recap what they have done so far, or let’s say re-think all we have talked about.

{January 24, 2011}   Drama begats Drama



People have told me several times that they wanted to WRITE a book. So I asked them, “What kind of book and what is it about? Will it be fiction or nonfiction?” Those who wanted to WRITE a book told me that they had no idea what their BOOK will be about. They just knew that they wanted to WRITE one. I shook my head in disappointment.

Those who really want to WRITE a book, have their roots already grounded like a tree. In fact they knew, they wanted to WRITE something long before they actually committed themselves to the task. Likewise, I knew that I wanted to WRITE short stories and prose. I also instinctively knew that I wanted to WRITE a fiction NOVEL. If you really want to WRITE a book, you will make every attempt to do so. You will not waste any more of your time. You have no time to waste. If you are a writer, then you will WRITE! Go ahead and get the necessary skills together and take that infamous WRITER’S leap. As I WRITE fiction, I daydream CONSTANTLY on how my story is supposed to flow. I dream about who will be the protagonist, and who is the antagonist. I also dream about what could possibly happen in each chapter. Yes I DREAM about my CRAFT. You should too.

By the way, that dream is your casting call. Your nose is twitching, and your ears are ringing. Your soul has a little person on your shoulder saying, “DO IT NOW, WRITE YOUR STORY!” Don’t listen to the evil twin on the other shoulder, telling you that it’s no use for you to write, you are no good, and nobody will like your stuff. I heard that little devil say that stuff to me, and for a while, I put my work in a trunk somewhere in my house. When I heard the good twin stalk my mind and continually say, when are you going to finish your manuscript? I shook my head and sighed deeply. That good twin entered my dreams, woke me up, and harassed me until I angrily went to the trunk, grabbed my work, and finally after six months, I had a finished manuscript. All I could say was “thank God for the good twin.”

I love dramatic stories. ‘The Color Purple’ by Alice walker, was a dramatic novel as well as a movie. I was going through the emotions as I read the book, but when the movie came out, those emotions were really attacking my inner soul. That’s what good WRITING is all about. If WRITERS can capture the souls of their readers, and make them happy, sad, angry, weep, or even bewildered by the story’s end, then that’s a WRITER!

 When I wrote the scene in my book about the character ‘Brownlow’ ripping the only dress she had and crying to the Angels to alleviate her pain, I cried! I was the WRITER and the first reader. A dramatic scene is just that, DRAMATIC. If the character John Coffe, in Stephen King’s ‘The Green Mile’, didn’t reveal the emotional flashbacks, describing another character’s previous events, which also put him on the green mile with John Coffe, I would have threw the book in the trash. Even Stephen King knew that his readers must feel John Coffe’s emotional turmoil as revealed in this story. We needed to know why the DRAMATIC remembrances were so sensitive to the main character. Not revealing the dramatic scene, teases the reader and make them tell others that the book is lame, because the WRITER has left something out.

When WRITING a DRAMATIC novel, you have to trap your reader as if they are in a bear trap and send a wolf slowly crouching towards them. The fear alone is DRAMATIC. Just when that wolf is about to pounce on them, you need to have an unforeseen shot rang out and strike the wolf, maiming him. That which releases the reader is called a DRAMATIC release. Yes, you have to release the reader from the DRAMA. Keeping the reader prisoner in a DRAMATIC part of your book, not only angers the reader, but also tires them out before they can get to the end of the story. Don’t do that. Keeping your readers at bay is ok for a brief moment, yet you must release them if you want them coming back to your library of stories. They will come back if you alleviate the character’s distress and inadvertently calming your reader’s emotional distress at the same time.



My nephew called my cell phone and told me he had a story he wanted to write. I asked him what was the storyline, and he could not tell me. He just said it was about vampires. Well that got my attention. I told him to follow my lead and write his story according to how I write mine, and then modify it as he got the basics.

So, you my fellow reader, follow my lead. How about reviewing one of my short stories. We will re-write a similar short story together. A novice WRITER should start with a SHORT STORY first. WRITERS must show growth, so it is okay to WRITE a teaser for your readers, and that’s a short story.


The title of my story is, ‘My Grandma Dreams’. Now write your title. You don’t have one. Then don’t worry about it now. That will develop itself on its own. If you worry about the title now, then you forget your purpose, which is to focus on the story itself. Worry about the title later.

One of my stories involves an old woman going through the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. She constantly dreams of the past. Bria, her granddaughter coaxes her grandmother in telling her how her twin siblings were kidnapped. They were four at the time. As Bria and her Grandmother return to their native city of Carver, Illinois, Bria helps solve the sixty-year-old missing person case.

I like the storyline. It pleases me, and it’s supposed to. If it doesn’t please your audience, will you stop writing altogether or will you write just for your audience? For God sake, don’t waste your time on pleasing your audience. You have to WRITE for YOURSELF first. If the storyline is good, your audience will enjoy it too. Be CREATIVE. Think of a story that is unique, unusual, and puts a character in a situation that is not the norm. Make it your story. Don’t take someone else’s idea because you don’t have one. You are a WRITER, your ideas will come, just let them inside your mind’s eye willingly.

Take your time. Your story will come to you naturally. It should if you are a WRITER. You already have the WRITER’S CRAFT if you are reading this book. You have ideas; just them flow, and don’t try to force them out. Dream of your story and let your imagination rain down in droves. WRITE out what as many ideas as you can to describe what you want your story to be about. Be ARTISTIC like Picasso or Michelangelo. WRITING is also considered an art form, a CRAFT, so you are from here on, called an ARTIST. You don’t have any more time in your life to doubt yourself or your abilities. That’s why you reading this book, remember?

In the short story I’m writing, the main characters are Bria and her grandmother. Who are your main characters? My setting is in Davenport, Kentucky and in Carver, Illinois. Where do you place your characters? How are you describing your setting? Use as much detail as you can.       

Start your story with a bang. Write something unexpected. You have to hook the reader into your story. You have to keep the reader’s interest. Have the awe effect ready. If your characters and locations are fictional, then make them believable. Make your characters feel and act like you or people you know. Make the storyline interesting and different.

Don’t over-criticize your characters or put them in a situation that will receive adverse opinions from your readers. If you attack your audience, you will also lose them at the same time. The WRITER’S CRAFT should not be written in retaliation of your actual living situation. Don’t make your writing too personal. It’s not your reader’s fault, why you are where you are, or, why you are in the situation you’re in. Just write a good story. WRITE for yourself first, your readers will like it if it is worthy of their time.

Use your own speech pattern or tone, or create one. If it is a foreign tone, make sure your reader will pick that up. Use a particular tone, dialect, or common usage of words to give the reader an indication as to where you are and in what timeline you are focusing on.

The climax or plot of your story will enter the story without you really focusing on it. The WRITER’S CRAFT is placed on the storyline. Most CREATIVE WRITERS have the natural ability to tell a story without a lot of effort. If you have something to say, your WRITER’S CRAFT will say it. Don’t get frustrated on that which comes naturally to a WRITER.

The ending should be like the beginning. It should be purely unexpected. If the ending is emotional, make sure it is a positive emotion. You want your readers to be happy with you. Don’t take your readers to a funeral without some positive reinforcement. If you, the WRITER, are thrilled about the storyline, so will your readers. Just don’t lose FOCUS.

Have fun writing a good storyline. Remember the WRITER’S CRAFT is just that; the ability to CRAFT a good tale, first for yourself and then for your readers. Have fun putting your characters in a situation, you may not find yourself in. Have fun surprising your readers by going somewhere unexpected. Have fun developing your STORYLINE. Just have fun WRITERS! The WRITER’S CRAFT is and will always be fun and entertaining. Now WRITE a sample story and have fun doing it!

{December 18, 2010}   My Craft


So you got an Idea. You have mapped out your story. You got the descriptions in your head. What skills do you need to proceed? How talented are you? Yes it does take talent to broaden the horizons of your reader’s mind. Do you like fiction? Nonfiction? Self-help books? Textbooks? Religious books?

I prefer fiction. Fiction for young adults captured my attention first. ‘The Long Black Coat’ by Jay Bennett, was my first favorite book. He had a talent for telling a good tale in a way the young adult would understand. The first skill is to know your audience, who are they? young, mature, middle-age, older groups, or the elderly who can still read, with or without glasses.

The first skill for me was to decide WHO I wanted to write for. My nephew helped me decide that. He was a teenager and I wanted a story that he could read and enjoy. I had to make it an adventure story with twists and turns.

I knew my limitations and so must you. Harry Potter has an author and no, it’s not me. Science fiction is not my GENRE. Self-help books are for those who know what they are talking about. I just have a unique imagination. I have my own imagination. It belongs to me. So you need to write about what you are familiar with. Write using the talents within you that interest you most. If you write beyond your limitations, you may lose your readers and even become bored with your own writing. Can you keep your craft within you vision? Can you create something great? How do you develop your craft?



           I craft my story from my very own head. Many people can’t do that. Some people have to write their ideas down on paper. In our computer age, we use computers that are supplied with Microsoft Word, or Note Pad. Some software programs help the writer by walking them through the writing process.

          This is where the local workshops come in. Re-educating yourself in the WRITING PROCESS is not a bad idea. You have to start somewhere, right? There are so many books to read that will help you get to where you need to be as a writer. It will take time to read the ones you may needed for your CRAFT.

I read ‘On Writing’ by Steven King, and he was so informative, that I still read it over and over again. You have to do the same research. Not re-reading a book repeatedly that is informative, yet knowingly it will help you in the long run, is pure laziness. Don’t do that to yourself. You have read the biblical stories repeatedly throughout your lives, so why not read a book about writing; about perfecting your CRAFT. How about ‘Writing a Novel by John Braine? He has illustrated his craft and has helped me to develop mine.

What about ME? I want those who want to WRITE, to WRITE with confidence despite any LIMITATIONS that they may have. I have DYSLEXIA, which is not easy to live with believe me, and I write stories, tales, poems, and prose. I’m illustrating to you know what I have learned by READING stories of others, daydreaming and putting stories in my own head, crafting, learning the writing process, and doing what I love to do, WRITE!

          The college writing courses sure help a lot of folks, but the money is not always conducive to the wallet. Either you know your CRAFT or you don’t. Re-educating yourself for the sake of your CRAFT may be worth your time and money, yet many just give up if they know what skills you will need to write a story, poem or prose.

          I took many composition writing courses, creative writing courses, poetry classes, and literature classes. I had to re-learn how to WRITE and WRITE well. I had to tap into the ‘mind’s eye’, that was the nucleus of my CRAFT. I had to READ the stories from the ‘classic crafters’; Dialogues of Plato, the biblical testaments of the bible, Grimm’s fairy tales, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher-Stowe, and so many others that widen my eyes to the CRAFT of writing.

          These classes and books taught me different styles of writing. I had to learn the different GENRES in order to know which to WRITE under.

          To develop your CRAFT, you have to be familiarize yourself with those most infamous crafters who ever lived. Let them mentor you with their crafting of words, phrases, sentencing, composing, description, and imagination.  Yes, you have to read their stories in order to develop yours in a similar fashion.     

          How about that infamous dream you had a few days ago. How about just jotting down what they were, how they began, and their beginning, middle, and finally their ending. Some stories were just that; dreams. Many authors just dreamed and dreamed big. They saw their dream in the ‘mind’s eye’ (that focal point of creating thought and ideas). Writers, after they see the craft, most writers write it down. I don’t. I don’t need to. It stays in a lock box within the deepest crevice of my brain, and erupts like volcano, pushing those ideas to the surface when I need them. But that’s me.

          So if you have the dream or the story you want to WRITE about, then you must dedicate yourself in knowing your CRAFT, and developing it through writing courses, mentors, and of course reading the stories of the ‘classic crafters’.

          CRAFTING is hard for those who don’t READ. If you have READ the classic novels, saw classic movies or plays, or have read classic poems, then you can visualize the WRITER’S CRAFT from those WRITERS, authors, playwrights, and orators have presented themselves to you through their writing. Don’t imitate them. That’s plagiarism! Don’t copy the works of others when you can develop your own. That’s cheating! You got TALENT, or what it takes to write if you are reading this book. You have a CRAFT inside of you that just has to be fished out of a vast sea of confusion by a good fisherman. If you have read ‘The Man of the Sea’ by Ernest Hemmingway, you know you have the fisherman instinct; you have perseverance.

          Another skill you need for your CRAFT is the use of the infamous ‘DICTIONARY’. Yes it does contain a huge amount of words that you really need to know and learn. LEARN how to use it well because it will be your new best friend. With this greatest tool, you can at least spell, and spell correctly. Here I go again, I’m DYSLEXIC, and a  DICTIONARY  is always close at hand when I write. Next to the DICTIONARY, I have to use the THESAURUS. WORDS have to be chosen, weighed, sorted, arranged, committed, utilized, accessed, recovered, obtained, retrieved, recaptured. . . oh you get it.

          Without a pen or pencil, a notebook or pad, a computer, a flash drive, we would be insufficient before we begin the WRITING CRAFT. Without a DICTIONARY or THESAURUS we have no craft. New excitable Words make our story come alive outside of ourselves.

          So there you are. You may need some writing workshops or classes, you will need to READ another WRITER’S CRAFT, you need stationary, a computer, flash drive, a dictionary and thesaurus, but above all, you need the talents within your mind’s eye: that imaginative particle to get you started. Do you have these skills? Then what’s next?

The storyline of course.

et cetera