A Writer’s Notebook: Scene or short-short?

Sometimes you just write. This is what I wrote. There is no particular exercise, but I’ll explain below where this comes from. He didn’t mow the hay field, or rake it into rows or bale it into the wide wheels, bound in plastic, that baked in the sun now. But he owned the aftermath, theContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Scene or short-short?”

A Writer’s Notebook: The great outdoors

This is a fairly old-school, simple exercise, but it’s one I keep returning to again and again.  But as usual, more on that below. I’ve never seen the skies in other vast states, like, say, Wyoming or Montana, but I’ve seen skies in California, skies in New York, skies in Wisconsin and Florida. And itContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: The great outdoors”

A Writer’s Notebook: A blank page

I spent part of this week in the hospital for a bleeding ulcer.  Nothing life-threatening, but it did threaten to interfere with our travel plans.  The good news is that it didn’t, and today, I am traveling.  But those two things combined–the ulcer and the travel–have left me with a blank page for this week’sContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: A blank page”

A Writer’s Notebook: Character details

This story I’m writing about the character named Ford is ballooning, but in the best way–each week I find new ways to build it, expand it, let it breathe. But more on that below.  Right now, five quick questions to help flesh out the character of Ford: a) What are the character’s physical attributes, fromContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Character details”

A Writer’s Notebook: Likes and Dislikes

Still working on the character of Ford. This week, his likes and dislikes, which I’ll explain below. Ford likes the sound of cicadas in the summertime, the whirring from afternoon till dusk. He likes the heat, and the cicadas’ song always brings it. Ford likes old pick-ups, the big boxy kind from the `50s, theContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Likes and Dislikes”

A Writer’s Notebook: Character interview

For a short set-up, I’ll reveal only that I’m currently thinking about—but not yet working on—a story about a character who is very difficult for me to understand, for reasons which will be apparent in the exercise itself. So this week, I decided to get to know him a little better by interviewing that character,Continue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Character interview”

A Writer’s Notebook: Music and freewriting

I’ll explain the exercise more fully below, but, as I did with the “1,000 words” exercise, I need to mention this up front:  I’m writing while listening to Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, Op. 46: Aase’s Death.”  I can’t upload an audio clip of the piece without violating copyright, but you can hearContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Music and freewriting”

A Writer’s Notebook: Poetry (Childhood memory)

I’m not a great poet.  I give it a go when I can, though, and I have a strong respect for poetry and poets–in fact, I believe that poetry informs fiction in profound ways, that the best prose comes from someone who at least appreciates poetry.  So I try to keep my hand in, ifContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Poetry (Childhood memory)”

A Writer’s Notebook: Collaborative fiction

My friend Ryan Werner and I are involved in a work of collaborative fiction, the old Round Robin exercise.  I’ll describe the general rules and what we’re up to below, but you probably already know something about this sort of exercise as it is.  It’s been my turn to contribute for longer than I canContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Collaborative fiction”

A Writer’s Notebook: Script Frenzy

So, as you might know, my planned 10-day interruption in participating in Script Frenzy turned into two and a half weeks, because we were stuck in Amsterdam for a week trying to figure out how to get home.  Then I was resting up, then working on other projects, like my travel journal….  Needless to say,Continue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Script Frenzy”