Creating a Strong Story

characters, Fiction, Jeff Lyons, revising, story premise, story structure, story viability, The Writer September 2013, Writing.

Anatomy of Perceval Blog

I love The Writer magazine.  My regular readers know that I call out articles in it occasionally for special attention.  Each month, I feel like I receive a visit from a private writing teacher when my issue arrives in my mailbox.  I read it from cover to cover, even craft articles about genres I’m not writing in, e.g. poetry.  It all goes into my brain for my mind and imagination to mix up, blend, and bake into whatever sweet fits the ideas that are always floating around in there.

The September 2013 issue includes an article by Jeff Lyons, “A big-city cop moves to a small coastal town….”  The title refers to the main character in Jaws by Peter Benchley, the story Lyons uses as his example to illustrate the five steps to developing a strong, structured premise.  I do a similar process to test the viability of a story…

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Poetry Along the Way: Walking to Emily Dickinson’s Grave

Views from a Window Seat

The Emily Dickinson Museum sponsors an annual walk from the Homestead on Main Street in Amherst to a nearby cemetery to mark the poet’s death in May of 1886.  This year I stood in the garden with about forty others, including five mother-daughter pairs, one dog named Phoebe, a young woman in a white dress (strapless), one man with a bunch of daisies, and one woman wearing a “I’m Nobody, Who are you?” t-shirt.  Some read poems around the theme of house there, then we walked down a green path to Evergreens, the house next door where Emily’s beloved sister-in-law lived. I was among those who read there, Poem 1609, which begins, “Who has not found the Heaven – below –/ Will fail of it above –“  The microphones weren’t great, and we competed with noise from trucks, cars, and lawnmowers, but while it would be good to hear the…

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Pen, Pitch, Publish Profit – Self Publishing Intensive

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A.I. Marin's Blog


            In an old age, when people much like today were only germs of the future, when God was still touching with his Holy feet the rocky surface of the Earth—in this old age lived a King, dark and ponderous like midnight with a young Queen smiling like the luminous noon.

            Fifty years had passed since the King was at war with a neighbouring Kingdom. The neighbour King had died and left behind his fortune to his sons and nephews, the hate and division of blood. Fifty years and the King had lived alone, like an aging lion, weakened by fight and suffering—a King who had never laughed in his life, not at children’s songs, not at the amorous smile of his young loving wife, or at the old funny tales of knights aged by battles and needs. He felt weakened; he felt he was dying having…

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I certainly hope that everyone had a wonderful day filled with family, friends and food yesterday. Now that Christmas is over and the New Year’s festivities loom, it’s time to focus on my 2013 Bucket List. Over the next week, I’ll be sharing these items with you, one each day.

I’ve had a love affair with photography for the past several years… but I’ve lost that… loving feeling…

Honestly, I just haven’t had time to take photos— I’ve been way too wrapped up in these writing projects. So I’m making it an official Bucket List item to get back to taking some photos for pure pleasure. How do I hold myself to this?

Daily Photo Challenge!!!!

If you’ve never heard of a Daily Photo Challenge, they’re really interesting and sound like a lot of fun, if a tad bit tedious. Here’s how it works: you compile a list of words…

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Henry Fonda the Haunted Man

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Anatomy of Perceval Blog

Whether the blank page is paper or a computer screen, the effect is the same.  It’s blank.  How to get started?

For me, I start long before I sit down to face the blank page.  My rational mind and my imagination have frequent play dates when I’ve gotten an idea for a story, and I let them work out some kinks before I commit anything to paper/computer file.  But sometimes I feel a powerful urge to put words down, to see them in front of me, to make the process more concrete.  Let’s face it, so much of what writers do while developing stories resides in the mind.  Seeing words on paper encourages my mind and imagination that I’m serious about what they’re telling me.

Recently, I’ve had two main ideas banging around in my head.  One is for a science fiction short story, and the other is for a…

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