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Tuesday’s Trail Notes

Mile 25: Friends

Writing a novel is almost always a solo act, though of course, many do partner up and co-author books (something I haven’t tried yet, but plan to). But for the most part, it’s you and the keyboard or, if you’re old school, you and a pad. It is sometimes easy to get caught up in

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Mile 24: Delete Key

It is my experience that for many writers the “delete” key is either the most over- or under-utilized key on the keyboard. Allow me to offer these words of advice. Don’t be so hard on yourself that you overuse the delete key, thinking nothing (or very little) that you write deserves to ever be read.

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Mile 23: Aspects of the Novel

Back on Mile 2, I wrote about the author’s guide; Ernest Hemingway on Writing. The book was useful on a variety level, is one I’ve already read twice and plan on reading a third time. Mile 23 is about E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel. It is considered by many critics to be a, if

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Mile 22: Research

Western novels can be broken down into two categories (seems like everything in life can be broken down into two categories), those that are well-researched and those that are not. For those who love research, the following statement might be considered sacrilegious, but read on before hanging me in effigy. A great book does not

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Mile 21: Used Book Stores

Let me clear this up, right up front. I bare no ill will toward Kindle, online stores or even new book stores. That being said, there is something different, something unique, something magical, about used book stores. It is the rare writer who doesn’t love reading (I have met one, however) and the rare writer

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Mile 20: Visit Locations

My last entry was about locations, especially the importance of accuracy if you’re writing about a real place that is readily researched. With this entry, I’m going to suggest you visit as many of those locations as possible. Most Westerns take place in the western half of the United States, which means if you live

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Mile 19: Locations

As you’re writing your novel, you’ve already come to realize something: it’s got to take place somewhere. The question is — where? There are really two options available to you as you pick the location(s) for your novel. First, and this is the most challenging, write about a real place. For those of us who

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Mile 18: Author or Writer?

Mile 18 may not help you write your first Western, but it might help you when talking to friends. When I first started writing, I wasn’t sure what to call myself — writer, author or candlestick maker. Somehow, in my head, author seemed more “serious,” more “literary,” than I felt my writings were. Writer seemed,

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Mile 17: Character Names

By now, hopefully, you have written or at least started your first chapter. Congratulations! If you have, you have probably run into an interesting challenge: creating your characters’ names. Allow me to share with you that it’s not always as easy as it seems. For me, it has been quite a bit of work, but

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Mile 16: Ernest Hemingway on Writing

There are a number of ways to improve your writing. The most important is to write. Write often. Write when it’s hard. Write more when it’s easy. But write. After that, we can look to experts who have been kind enough to share their wisdom and allow us to benefit from their mistakes and lessons

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