News for the Sunshine State & the
Unsubscribe or Change Your Email Address, hit REPLY and send
in your request.
STUFF FROM A
Let us remember . .
. that in
the end we go to poetry for one reason, so that we might more
fully inhabit our
lives and the world in which we live them, and that if we more
these things, we might be less apt to destroy both.
Stuff from Hither
real estate, cheating, and surviving
Best Independent Bookstores in America
10 escapes in literature
FWA Blog for
Northeast Florida—Vic DiGenti
Click on the links
below to read each article.
real estate, cheating, and surviving
The St. Augustine
paper gives a favorable review to Carrol Wolverton’s novel
“Real Estate, Sex,
and the World Beyond.” Ms. Wolverton’s protagonist, Jojo,
has a supposedly
ideal husband, except for his cheating and narcissism. To cope
on her own, she
enters the real estate field and stumbles until a mentor helps
her regain her
The article fails
to mention any Northeast Florida
bookstores, but it does emphasize that independent bookstores
are not only
surviving but thriving—their savvy service and welcoming
at this time of year) securing a place in our book-loving
Top 10 escapes in
Any reader or writer
will learn to think in
terms of “tools” in a writer’s toolbox. These are handy
techniques that writers
often rely upon when they first put ink to paper or make letters
appear on a monitor.
example, relied upon several
devices (to list just a few):
--Ghosts (in Hamlet
, Julius Caesar
produced at key moments.
--Use of low comedy
to offset a melodramatic
event (the Porter scene in Macbeth
the gravediggers in Hamlet
in the histories).
And the list could go
on, and on.
toolbox reflected a treasure
chest of language and insight into human character that most of
us lack. Even
so, let’s examine a few tools in an inadequate toolbox.
Some toolboxes may
have a wide variety of
tools, but the writer often reaches in for the same old devices.
A hammer can
be used to drive a nail or pull one out of a board, but a lazy
person may try
to use, say, the claws to try to unscrew something instead of
fishing out a
flat-head or phillips screwdriver. One is using a wrench and,
seeing a nail
that needs to be driven in, hits it with the wrench.
A writer should
examine his or her manuscript
to make sure that the same old words and expressions aren’t
being used. This
does not include “he/she said,” since readers do not
generally notice dialogue
tags. The writer should strive to eliminate as many tags as
on “dialogue paragraphs,” with part of the paragraph
describing an action and
another part featuring the quote from that character).
Overused tools may
reflect a tired
vocabulary. Every writer should have a checklist of words to
track in stories
or novels. “Grimace,” for example, may end up recurring
50-60 times in an
80,000-word manuscript. (To track the frequency, use Search and
replacing “rimac” will locate “Grimacing,”
“grimaced,” and “grimacing.” If the
ms.. only has, say, five such words widely
separated in a book, then you may substitute one or two.)
something, and a character “nodded.”
Count them up. If you have 50-60 instances, get rid of most of
appears often as in “she shook her head” or “he shook
hands.” Don’t let the
ms.. go out with 50-60 of these.
A phrase may appear
in one ms. but be missing from others by the same
writer. To show body language reflecting impatience, a writer
may say she or
she “drummed on the table/steering wheel/etc.” If the phrase
is recurring more
than twice, remove the excess.
Writers may fall back
on the same set of
names. Within a novel, the names should look different. If a ms.
has Miller, Mueller, Milletts, etc., the
reader will be seeing patterns of “M” and “ll.” Change
such names to almost
anything else: Baker, Grantley, Taylor . . . except these three
names are “a”
words. Rely on names using different vowels.
We have all been
lazy, at least in first
drafts. If a ms. features scene
after scene of talking heads (characters around a conference
coffeepot), then odds are their discussion isn’t advancing the
Any story should have
some humorous elements,
but some writers don’t have much of a sense of humor. Use
as a guide. It has a
serious story involving spies, murder, and a not-so-innocent
distress. Mixed in with that are the protagonist’s attempts to
clear himself of
drunk-driving charges, murder, etc. He is vain, multi-divorced
because of his
boring lifestyle, but he is able to troop on, even trying to
shave with a woman’s
The humor tool is
best used when it naturally
occurs: A character may be sinister but also have amusing
quirks. At a minimum,
a writer may try to overcome the lack of humor by working an
into the narratives. It’s not the best solution, but perhaps
it will save a
A writer is
often so close to his or her work that it’s nearly impossible
for him or her to
recognize any patterns or bad habits. Here is where an objective
editor can be invaluable.
Hop to it,
finish the ms., and find an objective reader to give you
signals that you only have one other month left in 2016 to
finish your projects
for this year. If you want to confer inside with fellow writers,
then go to the
FWA blog and check out meetings of the River City Writers, the
Writers, Writers by the Sea, the Ancient City Writers, and the
out the names of writers who were born this month, go to this
includes novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors,
writers for the
small and silver screen, and others.
see that we have omitted a writer, give us his or her name (and
way to verify the belly-button day).
out their entries on the website to see if they suit your needs.
include the following:
Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard
Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag, Richard
Alexander, JoAnn Harter Murray, Carrol Wolverton, Margie Sauls,