About the author...

MWhere I’ll be:M

Birch Bay Public Market

Friday, May 10 through the end of summer, Cathy and I will be selling her hand-made soaps, lotions, and toiletries, along with my photography, note cards, calenders, books, etc.

Come see us!

Across the street from the C Shop

4825 Alderson Road, Birch Bay, Washington 98230


I had an automated blogroll here, powered by Google Reader, but Google, in its near-infinite lack of wisdom, killed Google Reader. Prior to this murder, all I had to do to put a blog on my blogroll (or to take it off) was to place it in a Reader folder called, appropriately enough, "blogroll" (or, of course, to remove it). I use The Old Reader now for following blogs, but it seems to have no way to something similar regarding the blogroll. If you know of a way to do this, please let me know.

Pacing in Fiction

It’s not always a sprint.

There are a great many people (and a disproportionate number of agents and editors among them) who claim to believe things like “Every sentence must move the plot forward.” These people are fond of saying “What can you do in that scene to turn up the heat?” and “I think the tension in this part isn’t as high as it could be.” They draw the plot diagram of a novel on an ever-increasing, continuous slope, rushing with no pause and no break toward the breathless conclusion. The agent blog in which I read “My first job is always to take out ten percent of the book, which tightens it up and makes it shine,” (or something of the sort – I’ve forgotten the exact words) must surely have belonged to a member of this club.

These are the people in your critique group who always want every scene, regardless of where it falls in the sequence of the book or what came before it or after it, to be as tense as possible. These are the people fond of saying “Cut to the chase!” And they mean it in the literal sense: Come on, let’s se a high-speed, crash-filled car chase already!

Stories have to have rhythms. They have to have heartbeats and pulses and breath, or else they’re dead.

But don’t take my word for it.

Go here. Read this. It’s a blog post by Ursula K. Le Guin, who taught me everything I ever needed to know about character voicing without having ever met me, simply by writing The Word for World is Forest. (Read that, too.)

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