Mowing the Lawn

One of my (many) weekly chores, at least during the summer, is mowing, raking and trimming my lawn.  I like to get started early in the AM before the day gets too hot and (because my family likes to sleep in) it frees up the rest of the day for family (see quality) time. I finish all my work, put away the mower, gas trimmer and tools and stand back to admire my handiwork.  Invariably, I notice some blemish to my work (damn, where did that thistle come from?  what the hell?  fairy rings?  Crap!)  So I trudge back to my shed and pull out a trimming shears and garbage bags and trim the errant pieces of grass that the […]

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The Art of Coincidence

Have you ever watched a television show or a movie and said “No Way!” to a sequence of events that were just too improbable?  Did the plot seem way too dependant on luck? Suspending belief is a key piece to enjoying some movies, but sometimes the creators simply take too many liberties with the audience.  As writers, we must be careful not to fall into that trap or we lose credibility. Does that mean that we should avoid the use of coincidence and luck in our writing?  Absolutely not, after all, what is life but a series of unexpected events?  It just means that we shouldn’t use them as a crutch; they should be used sparingly but with surgical precision to move the […]

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Framing Your Story

One of the (many) problems/headaches I’ve experienced in my writing is ensuring that I’m true to the story’s frame of reference.  You see, we all have our own set of experiences and cultural references that set our understanding of the world around us.  But should they also influence our characters? Take for example borsht.  I know that borsht is Beet soup.  I can describe what it looks like, how it tastes, how best to eat it, etc.  But would the word borsht mean anything to someone from South America (without having to go through the detailed explanation first)? Now, how about a more extreme example.  What about a peasant farmer living in a medieval-esque era in a fantasy setting who worships nature?  Would he (or she) […]

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