Why Write???

Here´s hoping you´ve had a great week! Mine has been rather peaceful. Peaceful is always good, don´t you think? Have you noticed how some stories seem to write themselves and others are almost painful to write.

The Marisol Deception is one of the painful ones for me. It´s been almost a year since I wrote the first words, and I´m still not done with the first draft. Ever run into that problem? It can be annoying, but yet I know I have to work through it. Give me another year and a computer that works.

So let me ask you. What´s that story that keeps nagging you and keeps you awake at night? Over the next few weeks I want to give you some things to think about before you ever put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard.

Fundamental and foundational to your book is why are you writing it at all? If you don´t know, you can bet your reader won´t either, and they probably will not get past page one.

It´s important to know why you can´t let go of the idea. Why does it drive you? Why is it pushing to get out? Why is it more prominent than other stories that pop into your mind? It´s insisting to be told, but do you know why? If you can put into words, it will show up on every page. Your reader may not be able to point to it, but it will drive them because it drives you with a solid purpose. So often writers write without a clear answer to the question why, and it shows.

So how can you find the why?

Before you write your tale, take time to write out the why. Is there an injustice you want to set right? Is there a hurt or loneliness you want to bring to life? Has something angered you? Do you want to linger on the days of innocence? Why? Why? Why are you writing the story? If you don´t clearly understand why, it will never fly with your audience. Take the time to write a page or two explaining why you are writing. Seeing it in your own handwriting will help to reinforce the idea in your mind.

Also, before you begin to write, you need to know what your goals are. We will look at that next week. For now, dig deep into the why.

WFK

Getting Away

Welcome to another Wednesday! Autumn is in full swing and the foothills are ablaze with color. The mountains shimmer in beautiful yellows and reds. A Pennsylvania autumn is like no other, and I´m fortunate to wake up to it every morning. The air is crisp and clean – a sign of things to come. It won´t be long until the winter winds will be sweeping through the valley bringing on the need for scarfs, boots, gloves, hats, and . . . well, you get the idea.

The church has been keeping me busy lately. There is always something going on with the family. Occasionally health issues surface. And of course, as has been the case for the past several weeks, I´m working with borrowed equipment, All this has slowed down my writing. Maybe that´s a good thing. There is more to life than writing, but I must admit, I´m getting a little antsy. I miss my community on HubPages. I really need to finish my present project, The Marisol Deception and so many other things. The borrowed computer lacks much of what I need to use. Anything of length would be a waste of time to try to accomplish, so I wait.

In the meantime, I´ve thought about the many authors that isolate themselves to write. Maybe it´s a cabin in the woods or a rental near the water. Maybe it´s a room on the 17th floor of a New York City hotel. Anywhere there is quiet and peace. A place that is tranquil and allows the mind to wander into uncharted territory.

I´ve not done that, but maybe it´s not a bad idea. Still, with my schedule, I doubt it will happen any time soon. But that´s okay. My life is more than full, and I´m quite happy with the way it´s going. This is the only chance I get at this thing called life, so I better make the best of it.

Anyway, I´d love to hear from you. Have you ever locked yourself away to write? How did it work for you? If not, what are your thoughts on writing in isolation? Let me know. I did an internet search on the topic but didn´t find much, so let me know your first-hand thoughts. Okay, enough said. See you next Wednesday. Have a great week!!!

WFK

Just philosophizing

Hope you have had a great week! I certainly did. Celebrating 40 years of marriage (October 18), we made a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the Bible Museum and take in Jonathan Cahn´s The Return Event. What a fantastic day!

We later traveled up north to see giant elk in their natural habitat and lastly visited the Civil War battlefield n Gettysburg, PA. To think that my feet were standing on the blood-soaked ground where brother fought against brother was a strange feeling. I was also saddened to think brother is still fighting against brother. This time, it´s not the North vs. the South but the far left vs. the right. You would think we would learn from the past, but yet it seems we never do.

Well, it´s been over a month since my computer crashed, and I´m still struggling. I´m limited to certain functions on borrowed equipment so I haven´t been able to continue writing The Marisol Deception. you may have noticed I have to skip a space to type an apostrophe. What´s up with that? No pictures or videos either.

Anyway, it got me thinking. Do you remember writing on the old typewriters? I really thought I was something when I got my first electric typewriter. It was so neat! Even though I grew up in the days of typewriters and black and white TVs, I can remember writing by hand. I began to think, there really is no excuse not to write. Then I wondered, do they still teach hand-writing in the schools? It wouldn´t surprise me if they don´t.

Have you noticed, the more conveniences we have, the busier we tend to get – or maybe it´s just me. Maybe returning to the stone age would be best. Just a thought. See you next week.

WFK

My Planned Vacation

A couple weeks ago I shared with you about my unplanned vacation due to not having a computer. Beginning September 25, I´ll actually be on a planned vacation – but I still have to borrow a computer. I haven´t figured out how to post pictures on this machine, so all you get is text. To all you that I follow on HubPages, know I´ll be back to read your wonderful posts as soon as I have a full-time laptop again. I miss all those great reads.

That being said, there will be no weekly update next Wednesday, and I may not be around much to answer any emails or comments. Don´t take it personally. I need to detox.

Okay. So let´s play the What If game. Just some silly thoughts that might help you develop part or all of a story line or you can use them as a writing exercise.

What if . . . COVID-19 was intentionally invented by a mad scientist who already had a vaccine ready to sell to the world? (Who knows? This may not be fiction – lol).

What if . . . an old high school sweetheart made contact with his/her old flame after many years? What if . . . he/she was married to an overly jealous husband/wife?

What if . . . your protagonist was gifted with the ability to see the spirit world around her/him. What kind of danger might she/he be aware of that others are not?

What if . . . a young married couple ready to start a family suddenly finds out one has a terminal disease? What heartaches or victories might they go through?

What if . . . Your protagonist witnesses a murder and is threatened to keep quiet – or else? What kind of moral/ethical dilemmas and danger might that present?

What if . . . your protagonist is captured by your antagonist and is programmed to do the antagonist´s bidding?

What if . . .you shared some of your ¨What ifs¨ in the comments below. I would love to read them.

Well, that takes care of things for this week. See you next time and have a great couple of weeks!

WFK

Negative Reviews – A Given

Fall is falling in Central Pennsylvania. The air is crisp and fresh. The skies take on a different hue of blue. It won´t be long until the mountains are ablaze with gorgeous color. Without a doubt, this is my favorite time of year. My prayer is that you all are safe from the wildfires and hurricanes and are enjoying this time of year wherever you are.

Did you ever write something you thought was really good, and then a bad review shows up? If you haven´t, you will. It´s bound to happen. Negative reviews are just a part of writing. Nothing will ever change that, but there may be a way to lessen unwanted feedback.

I came across a story about an airport that constantly got bad reviews for slow service at baggage claim. They came up with a unique idea, and the negative reports slowed considerably. What did they do? Well, they could have emphasized speed on the service – make sure everyone is hustling and pushing things through faster.

Instead, they simply moved the baggage pickup to a further carousel. People would have to walk further, which would take longer, which would eliminate them standing around waiting and complaining. What’s funny is, it took the same amount of time for people to get their bags. But because they were walking (and not “waiting”), the complaints dropped significantly.

The moral of the story is maybe you don´t have to rewrite your story (you can be sure someone won´t like the rewrite, too), but change the way you frame the book. The reason people give negative feedback is because their expectations have not been met. So, meet their expectations.

How about this? Is your book longer or shorter than most? Let your audience know ahead of time.

Got clean or explicit romance scenes? (Hopefully, it´s clean, or at least, not too explicit). Tell them.

Is your writing more technical or more inspirational? Make it known.

There really is a market for just about anything you write. Some will love it and others will hate it. That´s just the nature of the beast, but when you identify from the get-go what the book is about, you´ll have a better chance to eliminate those unwanted reviews.

Just some thought to ponder and that will wrap it up for another week!

WFK

My Unplanned Vacation

Have you noticed? You didn´t get an update last Wednesday. Computers are wonderful – when they work. They´re terrible – when they don´t. Well, my computer isn´t working. I have to borrow one to get today´s update out. So, thank you, thank you, thank you to the one who loaned it to me.

Although I appreciate the use of the computer, it´s different than what
I´m used to, so I´m on an unplanned vacation. It´s been really hard to figure out stuff. You may have noticed no pictures week. That´s easy. I
don´t know how to add them. Somehow, things don´t seem right without a picture, Oh, well!

To you who follow me on HubPages, it´s going to be a while. If I haven´t commented on one of your articles – well, now you know why. I´ll get back to you just as soon as I´m able. To my students who have not finished their courses, I´ll add the time to your commitment when I get back up and running.

Even typing is confusing to me. The keyboard is much smaller than what I was working on. Every time I hit a t, I hit a y. Every time I hit a c, I hit v.

This being the case, l´ll be short this week. Better days are ahead, so keep plugging away on whatever you have. See you next week! – hopefully.

WFK

Backstage – II

Welcome to Wednesday’s Update, August 26, 2020. Where has the year gone? Hopefully, The Marisol Deception should be finished by late September. I hope I can stay true to that. Things have been so busy. I realize some of you experience the same situation, but keep going – a little each day.

Okay, let’s head backstage with Pinpoint Analysis.

I published Pinpoint Analysis in May 2019. To date, it’s been one of my best-selling fiction books. And if I may say so, it’s my favorite, too. The setting takes place in Miami, Florida, with the major action happening off the coast in the Bermuda Triangle. We know the Triangle is known for strange, unexplainable happenings and seemed to make a suitable backdrop for another thriller.

I’ve forever been a panster, so the tale unfolded day by day as I wrote. I never knew what would happen next, and I tried to keep it that way for my reader. A story of faithful love willing to pay the ultimate price pitted against the master of hell was the result. A little sci-fi, including time travel, popped on to the pages. Scientific research by the protagonist, Les Griffin, added to it. I threw in family dynamics and a few twists and turns.

I enjoyed doing my own research for the project. Usually, that’s the part that weighs me down, but I learned much about the waters of the Atlantic, the theories on the many missing planes above the Triangle, and the workings of the naval base off the Bermuda coast.

I wanted to create a story that would get people thinking about the more serious questions in life, or in this case, the afterlife. We don’t hear much about hell these days, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And there are real consequences to pay.

If you’re interested, you can get the book by going to the Books and Resources page where shipping is always free. Or you can order through Amazon.com. Just a little of the backstage business today, and we’ll see you next week!

WFK

Backstage

During the next few weeks, I want to give you a glimpse of “what’s behind the book – a sort of backstage pass”, if you will. There may be some new to the site and it’s always good to get to know each other. For now, this is the best way I know. So let’s take a peek behind the scenes of Cadeyrn’s Tale.

Cadeyrn’s Tale was published in December of 2019, and is the story of a young shepherd turned king. The story developed after listening to a song where singer David Byron voices these words –

Just a man in my prime
Love was there but I had no time
I was cheered and adored
And I thought fame was all the world . . .
. . . Love or war I could not choose
And so both I had to lose

That was the secular influence, but as a Christian author, I also expanded on some of King David’s successes and failures in the person of Cadeyrn, intertwining biblical themes. My purpose of writing the story was to explore how easily innocence can be lost, and the heavy price tag that accompanies that loss. I suppose that in one way or another, we’ve all been there.

The last name Kovacic speaks nothing of Ireland, but I’ve always had a fascination with the country, especially its link to the Druids. What could make a better setting than 5th-century Ireland? The beauty of The Emerald Isle brought together with the blood-thirsty tribes warring for dominance seemed to be an intriguing thought to me. The natural beauty of the moors drenched in the blood of war changed the landscape drastically. The blood of war changed the landscape of Cadeyrn’s mind – forever.

I couldn’t get the character of Cadeyrn out of my mind. He traveled with me everywhere I went. Maybe because he was a lot like me. In the end, It’s so easy to trade a pearl of great price for a husk of corn from a pig’s trough. Sometimes, it seems 5th-century Ireland isn’t so far removed from 21st-century living.

If you’re interested, you can order the book on Amazon or on the Books and Resources page. Shipping is always free when ordering directly from me.

Hey, that does it for this Wednesday. Have a great week, and I’ll see you in a week!

WFK

The Not-so-fun Part of Writing

Well, Pennsylvania is in the yearly time of hot August nights and hotter August days. It’s a good time for swimming. It’s a good time for writing, too. Just make sure the air conditioner is running on high. Writing is the fun part. Other parts may not be as interesting – like editing.

But we must do it. Here are some thoughts about self-editing to get you through these humid days.

1. Learn to be ruthless.

If you are using a professional editor, that’s easy. Take his advice. Don’t question it. Just do it. He knows better than you. If you’re self-editing, learn to be ruthless. Criticize everything and fix what needs fixed.

2. Avoid a long story introduction.

You may get 30 seconds of an agent’s or publisher’s time. Make it count! Don’t keep us waiting. Hit us right from the beginning.

3. Choose the simple over the complicated.

There’s no need to try to impress. It doesn’t work anyway. Unless you live on Vain Avenue, there’s no purpose to show off your extraordinary vocabulary. Keep it clear. Keep it simple or you’ll lose your readers. Is showing off worth the risk?

4. Get rid of needless words.

My guess is we often add unnecessary words to the story or piece. Get rid of the excess.

5. Eliminate subtle repetitions.

Jerry Jenkins lists the following examples in his article How to Edit a Book.

“’She nodded her head in agreement.’ We could delete the last four words. What else would she nod but her head? And when she nods, we need not be told she’s in agreement.

‘He clapped his hands.’ What else would he clap?

‘She shrugged her shoulders.’ What else?

‘He blinked his eyes.’ Same question.

‘They heard the sound of a train whistle.’ The sound of could be deleted.”

6. Stay away from the words up and down…

…unless they’re really needed. “He fixed [up] the car.” “They went [down] to the store.” Less is always better, especially when it’s not needed.

7. Don’t overuse the word that.

This is one of my pet peeves. I hate the overuse of that – probably because I have a tendency to overuse it. Most of the time it just doesn’t belong.

“He believed [that] his friend was lying.”

”Was it possible [that] he could escape?” Get the point?

Okay, maybe we’ll look at some more next week. Until then, no matter what the weather, write on! See you in seven!

WFK

The Sounds of Silence

Have you ever noticed, some things are better left unsaid. Our words can have a healing effect or a damning effect. We read about it in the book of James, chapter three. At times, we would do well to listen more and speak less.

But how do you write? Often. we just spew words onto the paper, not considering the result. We have a story to tell, so we tell it using any choice of words we determine. We both know that’s not creative writing. When we write creatively every word matters. The way we frame our words becomes the reason for writing.

That’s where silence comes in. Stop spewing and relax. Take a deep breath and listen. Turn off the phone. Shut off the TV and stereo. Just listen. Listen to the sounds of silence. Let your mind shift gears for a few minutes. Allow your thoughts to take you where they take you.

Be silent and observe. Observe people. Observe situations. Observe relationships. There is so much to learn in life – to learn about life. Be still and take it all in. Notice the hummingbird by the window or the morning dove cooing from its nest. Pay attention to the azure blue sky and white puffs of clouds as they drift by. Listen carefully to the sound of a sleepy stream as it trickles down its mountain path.

We writers are passionate about we do. We are so passionate that there are times we must slow down and dwell in silence, if only for a moment. Learning to write isn’t always about the newest webinars or the latest courses. Sometimes it’s just about being quiet and listening – to the sounds of silence.

See you next week.

WFK