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Tuesday’s Trail Notes

Mile 11: Stephen King

Stephen King’s book on writing is called, you guessed it, “On Writing.” Some consider it a classic of the “writers helping other writers” genre. I don’t actually know if that’s a genre, but it should be, and King’s book is a good one. While he’s best known for his horror, fantasy and supernatural books, none

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Mile 10: Be There!

If you read the previous post, “Mile 9,” you’ve hopefully written your first line. If so, congratulations! Now it’s time for the second line and to put some serious thought to your characters. I stole the title of this Trail Notes from James Patterson, one of the world’s best-selling authors. When talking about bringing life

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Mile 9: First Line

The novel of 50,000 words begins with the first line. With apologies to Lao Tzu, writing a book is a journey, and at some point, you have to start. For most of us, staring at that blank page, or that blank screen, with not a word written, can be daunting, even overwhelming. Fight that feeling,

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Mile 8: First or Third

One of the early questions you have to answer, even before you start writing, is if you’ll be writing in first person or third person. This is known as the point of view (POV). Each offers advantages and disadvantages. First person POV is “I” based. Everything you share with the reader comes through the point

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Mile 7: Outline?

To outline, or not to outline, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of an unplanned novel Or to take arms against a sea of troubles By outlining them and so ending them Forgive me, but that was fun to write. Many, perhaps even most, writing

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Mile 6: Software

When I started writing my first novel, “Coyote Courage,” I turned on my computer, opened up Microsoft Word and started typing away. I wasn’t too far in before I realized I needed to start making some notes: What kind of gun did I say Brock had? What was the name of the bartender? Did I

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Mile 5: When to Write

There are as many schools of thought regarding when the best time to write is as there are writers, or hours in the day. It would be easy to make this the shortest entry of all the Trail Notes… Write when it’s right for you! And in many ways, that is the best advice I

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Mile 4: Goals

Ok, I get it. The most obvious goal is write your book, have it published by a major New York publisher (after receiving a huge advance, negotiated by your prestigious, world-renowned agent), and watch it race up the New York Times best-seller list while the awards and reviews roll in. However, it’s possible, just possible,

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Mile 3: Short Story, Novella or Novel?

As I write this series of blogs, I am making three assumptions about the you, the reader. Granted, assumptions are often dangerous, so please forgive me if I’m off. First, you’re interested in writing and the process in and around writing. Second, you want to write fiction. While writing nonfiction (which many of you have

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Mile 2: Why Write?

A question I am frequently asked, especially by friends and family, but increasingly by others who do write, is… “Why do you write?’ It’s a fair question and one I’m going to suggest you ask yourself, or allow me to ask it of you. If the answer is as simple as “because I enjoy writing”

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