Tag Archives: The Write Practice

The Write Life: Nuggets for your noggin

What a great week to follow writers and bloggers who had time to talk about their work.

Romance author Joan Swan provided what I consider the post of the week at Mystery Writing is Murder. Joan offered an incredible exercise in humanizing the antagonist with “Villains.”

“Villains are people too,” she begins. There’s some meaty stuff here.

She reminds us that our villain was an innocent child once. “What changed? Why did it change?” And how did our villain react to that change?

What’s human about your villain – something readers can relate to?

– My memoir-in-progress that appears here every Friday and Monday is an adventure in non-fiction. Over at freelancewriting.com I found challenging advice on the process of writing a true story, namely “divide action into its various stages and arrange them in logical sequence.” The trouble is, I like to jump around, from scene to scene, and not necessarily in chronological order.

But “logical” isn’t the same as “chronological,” right?

Some other jumping in points:

“Why you need to be writing empty-headed dribble” at The Write Practice.

– British author/editor/ghostwriter Roz Morris (Nail Your Novel) makes the case that without drama readers won’t likely care much about our work. Getting someone to read our stuff is one thing; making them care is the real challenge.

Two blogs/sites to follow:

– Tribune photographer/web guy Matt Cavanah has a slick website that shows off his eye-popping work. Matt’s a great guy. Just laughed yesterday when I misspelled his last name “Cavanaugh.”


Yep, he said, pointing out that we’ve worked together only one year and 10 months, so how could I have caught on so quickly?

– I also recommend both the website and Twitter feed (@Writers4Christ) for Writers4Christ.

Now, go write something that YOU care about. It’s probably best to first convince yourself.

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Filed under Living Write, MIP: Memoir-in-progress, Uncategorized, WIPs

Living write: Navigating the cyber clutter

Countdown to Kianna: 25, 24, 23, 22 days … until the princess Kianna Allene Brown makes a very celebrated entry into our lives — as if she doesn’t already consume our every waking moment.

Now for our regular Saturday programming …

The moment you’ve finished reading this post, do nothing else until you have bookmarked, earmarked, dog-eared or subscribed to the blogs that I’m introducing you to. You can thank me later. For now, though, focus on the profound discoveries I’m going to share. (And you already know there’s an entry for Grandpa’s message to Kianna at the bottom of the post; kind of like the prize at the bottom of a box of cereal. You know, like back in the days of 8-track dashboard consoles?)

Maybe you’ve see Hoarders on the A&E network or Confessions: Animal Hoarding on Animal Planet? I’m ashamed to say I could be a hoarder except that Kelly, by bride of 30 years, wouldn’t allow it. I tend to collect and amass “stuff.” I’m much better than I used to be, but left to my own devices and given enough passage of time, I’d probably find myself someday saying, “Huh. Where IS the front door?”

My email in-boxes are something of a cluttered mess. (At last count I had 10 email addresses, seven of which are devoted solely to Fantasy Baseball, yet another example of digital hoarding). My “favorites” box on Twitter is a hoarder’s dream.  And it’s a constant battle to keep my computer desktops from becoming labyrinths of icons.

But since you’ve tuned in to Jackson’s Journal today, that means you are interested in, perhaps even crave, becoming a better writer. And you have no doubt wondered, “Huh? I’ll bet there are myriad websites and blogs out there that could help satisfy my yearning for writing tips, inspiration and motivation.” And you would be correct.

However, I have already navigated the vast sea of such blogs and websites, and hereby present you with a few of the blogs I follow. The ones listed here are top priority, so you’re okay if you don’t add to the list on your own. Just check back here periodically – Saturdays are probably best – for new entries for your blog-reading menu.

The SINGLE BEST Twitter feed for writers is @elizabethcraig, and her website  has been named by Writer’s Digest as one of the top 100 websites for writers three or four years running. But you must follow her on Twitter. She collects all the best stuff for writers in the Twitterverse and posts it every week.

It’s kind of like having someone bring the old Shoney’s breakfast buffet right to your desk. Very nice.

Two other websites and blogs to get connected with are The Write Practice  and Mighty Red Pen. Even if you’re not currently obsessed with learning to never use passive voice again, as I am, Mighty Red Pen is a very entertaining blog/website.

It has convinced me that indeed grammar are fun. (Um, I meant to do that. See what I did?)

Two authors/writers produce daily can’t-miss content. Jeff Goins and Roz Morris are equal parts inspiration and drill sergeant. For writers waiting for someone to give them their marching orders to “GO WRITE!”, Jeff Goins is your guy. Roz, who also goes by the Twitter ID of @dirtywhitecandy, resides across the pond, as they say. Both writers are generous with their advice and encouragement.

Finally, if you’re simply looking for a brief but usually hilarious daily diversion, let me introduce you to “Riding in Cars with Goats and Other Stories” by my wacky colleague Caroline Dohack. CD grew up in Doniphan, Mo., just a stone’s throw from the Bootheel, in the poorest county in Missouri. Just a head’s up, though: frequent coarse language.

And now …

Grandpa’s message to Kianna #15: You’re going to have lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask them. And if I don’t have the answers, well, I’ve got the books. Really, I do. My collection includes What Makes Flamingos Pink?, Do Penguins Have Knees?, Do Fish Drink Water?, and Why Does Popcorn Pop?

And when you’re a little older, you’ll want to read Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things and, my favorite, Panati’s Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody.

Can’t wait!


Filed under Kianna Allene Brown, Living Write