Do you remember the movie, “Jerry Maguire?” Do you remember the part when he wrote the “mission statement” that ended his employ  with the big agency? Do you remember how exactly he realized what he’d done?

It wasn’t when they fired him, it wasn’t when they threw him a party. It was right after he’d written it and sent them all to the mailboxes of each person employed with him. Remember that? The Hawaii Five0 character (I think) whose eyes shifted sideward indicating an “uh oh,” and then the bomb went off….THAT is when he realized he’d actually done what would change his life.

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, my whole life isn’t changed simply by my changing the name on my site, but…

Well, I just changed my blogging site’s name here, and suddently it said:

“this page has been removed!!!”

All the hard work gone into this page disappeared!!! I became frantic. I thought:

Uh Oh….

I was going to have to start from scratch. I am still not sure, but if that happens I may as well shoot myself. I’m not doing this again.

I’m not published yet and I’m as the old woman in the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” says, “I’m at the jumping off place” (end of my life.) I’ve got no connections, no network, in fact: I’m an introvert, too sensitive to be rejected, and live in a hidden imagination world… All I have is this danged site to tell ANYONE WHO’S LISTENING that I’m here and I’m writing. Can anyone see this? Please, let me know.


Today’s “slant” on…

I am posting an article from another writer this week, not only because the topic is interesting (since she too is posting on another writer’s work) but because of the slant of the writer who is posting about another writer–try and keep up.

Yes, it’s true. I too am posting with my own slant, and if you propose to tell me it isn’t true you are deluding yourself. So before I go out to find some writer bashing my opinion, let me give it to you. I find the writer that posted an article about a work of Ian Fleming’s is missing a backbone.

For one thing, we must remember who Ian Fleming is and what the time period was when he wrote. Ian Fleming was a heterosexual man who liked women in the rawest sense and enjoyed entertaining others with his shade of thrills. Simply put, he was a man’s man; no harm in that but of course, perhaps from today’s standpoint it is to some–many–over-social collective conscious.

The “author” who posted his article gave a disclaimer before she posted it. My my…If it doesn’t smack of immigration or LGBTQ… (sorry too many initials to remember off the cuff) then, it’s not Literature?

I read it. Ian Fleming does not offend me, being that I am a woman; I am first a writer when it comes to good work. Nor was I interested in an exposition as to how he was some kind of sad case in the new world of liberally equal participants in our democracy (oh, except for Christians).

We must remember in Ian Fleming’s heyday, homosexuality was not so prevalent legally as it is today back in the early 60s, not to mention the other many pockets of socially disgruntled persons who want their own signpost. Not all his women were idiots either, though maybe all of them were startlingly beautiful and free with their sexuality (which group of Feminists is that offensive to, I forget).

My point is this. Stop bellyaching about the literature of the past, and try not to compartmentalize it into a social intolerable statement. Just enjoy the fact that we have a rich history of Literature, whether agreeable or not.  Consider the resources writers had at the time, look at the work, the writing itself, and try and pull from it gems of transcendent meaning for your lifetime, or just be entertained. Even the shallow, sexist, racist works of past writers who lived in that time have value; it was their period of time.

Now. Enjoy the read. Here’s the url, if it does not download.


Ian Fleming Explains How to Write a Thriller, Circa 1963

When time periods baffle you

When Time Periods Baffle You

© by Lydia Nolan

May 5, 2019

I have been working on the same novel for years, I won’t even tell you how many. Nonetheless, I have finished it years ago, but went on to edit it and this is where the length of time begins. This is my first novel and I have never had a course in novel writing or a mentor who would teach me how to write a novel. I just wrote it, and now I’ve been editing it for years.

What I wanted to share as I did in my Blogger site, is too technical here. This is my contemplative blog, more about what I am writing specifically, whereas the Blogger site is more about the technical components to writing, that is the Write Stuff.

But here, I just want to write about what I’m thinking specifically for my own particular work.

I am having a difficult time creating a period of time in my novel. It is supposed to be referring to incidences in the 60s, but it is in the 80s.

Last night I was watching Netflix and there were specials about Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer of the 70s, whose life did not expire from our horror of him until the 80s. And then it came to me: I never speak about the things going on in the backdrop of my novel. I don’t sense the time period in my novel.

I asked my husband if he thought I needed to mention the serial killers in that time period, being how the character in my novel is pursuing a serial killer unknown to my readers. He said “why? Don’t go messing up your whole story just to input some unrelated piece of information.”

“But,” I said, “it’s not just information, it’s the backdrop of my novel, and it speaks volumes of the significance of the worst time in our history for serial killers, thereby addressing the difficulties for detectives on finding these killers since forensics was sparse then. I think I’m right and I’m going to ignore my husband’s thought on it. But he was right about one thing: it is going to be really hard to tear apart pieces of my novel and plot to fit in morsels of the times, why? Read my other blog for technicalities… right: I did NOT create an outline before I began this novel, so it’s harder to find areas of its plot without knowing where to search. I hope you understand what I’m talking about, any writer worth their work knows what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

Time Periods in Historical Fiction

So …  The 60s in my novel is the Viet Nam and Hippie era, the 80s, Glam rock,  Aids and the worst of serial killers in our country, and NOW, the most unrest in our generations within political, religious and cultural chaos. Now, THAT is a challenge indeed. I guess I can ignore the NOW. But what makes it so hard is that NOW is not either of these time periods, so I have to research not one, but two periods of time that I should be familiar with, but I was culturally deprived due to religious ostracization. Oh, the joy and excitement of research and writing — really!


What Writers Do In the Dark

The average person thinks of someone being “in the dark” as someone who is uninformed. That is not the case with writers, at least not in this conversation of mine at this time.

When I think of a writer “in the dark” I am talking about the secret place to which the writer goes: her or his mind.

That place where the writer goes in the dark is the safehouse to his or her imagination growing and conjuring. It can be dangerous to the average person, it can be frightening to a child, it can be suspect to the authorities, but it is a playground for the writer.

Young man reliving his childhood playing in a children’s playground riding on a colorful red spring seat with a happy smile in an urban park (he’s probably a writer.)

Consider some of the works we have read: Dennis Lehane’s “Shutter Island,” J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi,” Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” Ann Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire,” and so much more, I cannot even begin to touch the surface of the many wondrous, imagined, voluminous mountain of narrative and works of so many writers who tapped their “Dark Place” and wrote from that cave of secrecy the which to shock, outrage, touch and entertain us.

Many people think of writers as strange people because they stare, they are too quiet, or they have shifty eyes, laugh aloud by themselves, or just plain move funny (hence, the writer who is practicing a movement for a character) but you must remember: they have a whole carnival of action going on in their heads. Be kind and leave them alone. If he or she wishes, get them something to drink or eat; that writer may be working on a story about someone abandoned on a desert island,

or starving on an unknown planet somewhere…

And please remember, were it not for the writer, we all would sleep without nightmares, dream without plots, and not recognize the maniacs or serial killers that may be sitting next to us on the bus! Thank you writers: keep up the visit to that dark cave.

Morning, true and clear

Hi. A bit off topic this morning, not about writing or reading, but about contemplating something from another day or time.

Before everything starts, before everyone wakes, it’s Saturday morning, true and clear; without complications, without drama, without heartache.

The morning will always give that sense of hope, grace, gratitude. It’s there, you just have to reach out and grasp it for yourself.

When I wake up I tend to think way past the speed of light. Lately, though I’ve been checking myself, comforting myself that I need not over think the world, just take movement and connection as it comes and deals with each thing one at a time.

Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon watching videos on YouTube. I was enthralled with two men who are preachers but of the new age of our time. Nothing like the past preachers who preached with a traditional cloak of activity. Even their dress was very formal; not like preachers today.

The message, however, is the same, albeit different aspects of Christianity (one of Salvation in general, and the other of Holy Spirit, specifically) only Frances is within his personality and attire much more casual and endearing while Nabeel is more subdued and formal; both authentic human beings.

So I watched videos of these two preachers. Both men were immigrant originated: one was Chinese American, and the other was Pakistani American; both men born here, but raised by parents with their own set of traditions, culture, and religious beliefs.

Both men were converted in a wondrous way and both are men of integrity and spiritual height, depth, and purpose. I respected both men highly because I knew what they were talking about.  Being a believer, I felt they both were so authentic as to put most Christian-born to shame, including myself, why?

In this country, Christians are shamed into submission by the secular communities and there are so many, making cowards of most of us for fear of stepping on the toes of a protected group: a prophecy fulfilled (good becomes evil and evil becomes good). So most Christians live in silence, and soon they join the secular community just so they aren’t excluded in our country. This is what I want to talk about.

I was so saddened by the journey and final result of each man. I’m simply a little person without knowledge of the clergy, so from the outside looking in, I observe the sadness of it.

The Chinese American man, Frances Chan is a bestselling author and such an authentic man on video, such a forthright, loving Christian with a grand sense of humor and a large following. Evidently, he had no problem coming to Christ. Perhaps the Chinese culture is not as unforgiving, I really do not know why, but he appears completely well-adjusted. However, it was the Pakistani man that broke my heart. His journey was much rougher.

His family turned against him, and as he said, his mother was never the same. They never truly forgave him. He did not give up his faith in Jesus Christ, but he was so attacked by the Muslim community in letters, in person, in threats, and so forth. After eleven years he acquired stomach cancer, and at the young age of 34, he died, leaving his beautiful wife, Michelle, and his angelic daughter, Aya. In one of his last video interviews, he even joked about the horrendous emails he received saying they prayed Allah would kill him, or that he got what he deserved. Do you think enough of these kinds of communications can wreak havoc on your emotions? He chuckled but I’m sure he was hurt by these people.

I cried a lot yesterday, and I was pretty well ill-functioning for the rest of the day. Remember: I’m a hyper-sensitive person. Why did I cry so? I could not get Nabeel Qureshi out of my mind, as to his commitment to the cross. He truly carried his.

I was raised by a father who was a preacher. Yes, there it is. The joke of every secular kid in school was: “haha, you’re a preacher’s kid.” A PK. I was ridiculed, my siblings and I suffered a number of insults and incidents, having stones thrown at us, being called “holy rollers,” having people ostracize us from play periods for the reason that we were Preacher’s kids. It was a difficult childhood, to say the least. There was no glamour to it, as television portrays. But then, there were those that understood, agreed, and were kind. That helped, but the pain of cruelty never really goes away.

I cannot help think that the Pakistani American, Nabeel, must have suffered terribly after having been a devout Muslim, and as his parents made him believe, destroying the entire foundation of pride in his family name in Pakistan. After all, his father and grandfather were Islamic missionaries.

Yet, when I listened to him, my heart rose, broken, but elevated spiritually. His faith was genuine. Not that the faith of Frances Chan was any different, but I do not think Chan suffered the separation that Qureshi did. That is only my opinion. But God knows all, we don’t need to.

I think why I am even bringing all this up, and why my heart was broken is this. To separate oneself from all that you know and love, to leave the entire foundation of your life and sense of purpose, and while embracing another way, being ostracized from all those you loved and knew, and who believed in you, is the most difficult experience. One is crushed under a weight of insurmountable pressure when one loses everything and the heart is crushed in grief. But faith builds up again, albeit notwithstanding the scars that remain. It must have been terribly heartbreaking as he stated it took him a long time to be completely sold for Christ for the sheer fact that he went through deep grief.

Perhaps that is why I identified with Nabeel more than Frances. Although we all will be in heaven together, and we will walk in God’s company as well as our own, without time and space, right now, while I’m still human, I cry for the loss of Nabeel.  I am hopeful to see Frances continue as long as possible. All this thinking this morning amounts to this: there are so few authentic people in the world, much fewer men and women of renown character who bow to Jesus Christ.

I have never thought of myself as authentic, but so aspire to be. It comes with a cost though. As Nabeel quoted from the Bible in one of his sermons, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me, is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”

I believe this statement attested to Jesus’ sincerity of purpose in this world. It also is the most difficult of all sermons Jesus gave (Matthew 10). For this reason, most people do not want to follow Christ, or should I say cannot. It always bothered me that the word coward was affiliated with all the other sins in the book of Romans. Now I see why.

I believe Nabeel, the once Muslim who became a true Christian, gave up everything for Christ, and it took its toll on his human body. But his was true faith. All Christians may have to do that someday as well.  I want to be able to do what it takes to complete the race.


61uScJv5jnL._AC_UL436_.jpg     “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi

81QH9gyspnL._AC_UL436_.jpg  “Forgotten God, by Frances Chan



Five Reasons Why We Write

© by Lydia Nolan

April 11, 2019

Five Reasons Why We Write

© by Lydia Nolan

April 11, 2019            

When I was a six or seven-year-old child my cousin said that I would be a writer. I looked at her with a blank stare. I did not believe her, much less understand the profoundness of the projection. I was hyperactive, noisy and could not stop talking or sitting still. I was constantly reprimanded for being an annoying kid, I was commanded to go and play outside most my youthful years just so I would leave everyone else alone. I was relentless.

            I began writing at the age of eight or nine, but I began to believe I was a writer by the time I was ten years old. Still, I did not think of it as something to which I would directly aspire, but I thought of writing as a means to an end. 

            I wrote because it got me to a place I wanted to go, where I could explain things that happened. Telling stories helped me complete something that I wanted to complete—allay my desperate need to explain things. You could say I was a memoirist from that age to the present though I’ve never written a memoir formally. But I did get my training from practice.

            For example, writing a script verbatim to reflect a movie I was watching and loved so much that I wanted to make sure I’d always have it inside me (there weren’t videos in my time), I would create a “script.” Then, I would act out all the parts myself, memorizing distinctly each character’s voice, gestures and facial expression; my mother said I would be a great actress. 

            I did that with “The Bride of Frankenstein.” I learned all the parts and acted out all the parts for my cousins. My scripts became special to me and I carried them around like textbooks. I would later use various scripts to assign parts to my friends and teach them how to act them out. After that came many horror movies; my favorite genre.

            We write for many reasons. For example, Kelly Cherry, who is a writer and wrote for WriterMagazine, said it’s not about money, and it’s not about quick recognition. Both of those covetous luxuries lack more times than not with writers. Cherry goes on to say: “despite all the reasons not to choose it as a career, writers are driven by a primal urge to tell people who they are. (Psychology Today. Feb. 14, 2018. Web)”

            Studies show that writers attempt to make a connection with a reader; it is an intimate connection because only the writer and the reader are involved—like telling secrets. And writing is controversial in that it can be to some painful and agonizing, much like delivering a baby and having labor pains in delivery. While others may disagree and say it is easily expelled and is liberating and reveals depth in a writer’s need to communicate.

            One can argue that we can create intimacy any other ways as well, so why write? However, a writer with such a need who creates an intimate connection with one person can connect with far more people at a time—their readers.

            Since I was an annoying chatterbox I began writing poetry to expel the need to identify myself and share my thoughts, and later on, I began writing stories for the same reason. The entertaining part was the way for me to communicate those ideas, thoughts, stories, and so forth.

            I have always loved school, particularly my English classes because of the fact that the instructors always made us write. I see writing essays, comments, notes, and stories as the truth of intimacy and deep communication. The famous “Fear of Flying” author, Erika Jong, says: “we write for love.” That is perhaps the general consensus. But not necessarily for merely to love others but to have others love us as well.

            Regardless of how it comes about for writers, it burns in us and cannot be dismissed so easily. Some of us may have had something that happened to us that made us feel the need to put it down on paper, and afterward we were hooked. So here are some points that might help you identify the writer personality. See if it resonates with the experiences that made you believe you were a writer and were meant to write.

1)   You are an intense observer, mesmerized by how people talk. You begin to distinguish the differences in their speech, tone, mood, dialect simply by listening oh so carefully. Further, you try to write those sounds with words on paper.

As a kid and loving those monster movies, I recall watching carefully the movements of the characters, but also their voices. After I began writing scripts in the crudest way a child could write, I would work hard to make the words fit the sounds. For example,  in the Bride of Frankenstein, the doctor is ecstatic because his monster is coming alive. He is hysterical due to fatigue and his emotions have gone awry. So I remember writing: “it’s aliiiive, ALLIIIIVE! HAHAHAHA! (gasp) HAHAHAHA (gasp)”

The emphasis in his voice is the capital letters along with the length of the I’s to extenuate the word, alive… aliiiiiiive. 

2)   Were you once obsessed with how letters look? Perhaps you may have even taken a Calligraphy class. Maybe you experimented with new ways to write your name, letters or words in an artistic way. These days we can compare with that with the computer, typing various notes with ways in which you express your feelings. Nonetheless, you write! For example, in my day, I loved writing letters to people and would try and write with fancy loops and curls. The pen in my hand, the white plain paper revealing the voice that spoke in my head, all of it, was superbly orchestrated by my brain and hand. Using various fonts on our computer to “decorate” our emails is similar to what I did then, even using colors to demonstrate mood. In times before the tech explosion, I’d use colored pencils to brighten up notes or letters.

3)   Being intrigued by words unknown is an opportunity for word lovers to get to know them and extend your vocabulary. Sometimes, if you are truly drawn to words you may wish to know where they came from and whether or not they had different meanings in the past. Many of my friends who are now writers used to look up every word they did not know; so did I. Afterward, and just for fun, we’d use them in our letters (your emails) or aloud as we spoke, discussing words and their newly found use in our letters, essays, and so forth.

4)   Speeches with words and sounds in the speaking would catch a writer’s ear more readily than the usual audience; a writer’s senses are acute and that is why critics comment on plays, speeches, and the like. You might experiment with speech writing to your parents, your friends, groups, etc., desiring to move others by your speaking or words being written, because you know it is possible; you know the power words have.

5)   Finally, you have a burning desire to communicate to people, which becomes for you the most intimate of relationship and self-revelation; even as you write you learn who you are. It may have begun by reading but it does not necessarily always start that way. A book, a movie, a speaker, a preacher, any communication in which words are used to move, impassion, incite, or leave a lasting and emotional impression, may create in you that burning desire to be intimate with others in this type of communication because it happened to you.

            It may seem strange to a writer that not everyone has these types of characteristics, but believe it or not, there are people that could care less about how to impress people with words. They leave it to people like you and me to be their mediators in the world of emotional movement. 

            It has always been funny to me when I was a child that writers never get known or demand fame aloud. If they receive fame or fortune it is incidental to their innate desire to communicate. Perhaps Erika Jong was correct in stating her understanding of the purpose of a writer: “we do it for love.”

Review of “Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt

Review: “Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt

“The panic that overtook me then was hard to explain. Those game days broke up with a swiftness, a sense of losing blood almost, that reminded me of watching the apartment in New York being boxed up and carted away: groundlessness and flux, nothing to hang on to.” (p.303)

While the title presupposes a story about the famous painting by a Dutch painter of the 1600s, it is really a trope that threads throughout the novel, indicating how one who has been traumatized, needs some kind of connection to that life before the trauma.

This is a story about a young fourteen-year-old boy whose life in the backdrop of New York City is routine and phlegmatic. Abruptly his life changes from a protected child into a motherless frightened kid, into finally a drugged out, piteous orphan, after meeting and living for a short period with his father.

His drugged out existence informs us, without ever really saying it, how one can become a sad and lonely human being; all this beginning within a few moments, as his mother is blown away by a bomb in the museum they were visiting for a while before he and his mother keep an appointment with his school principal. Talk about a twist of fate.

This is a true bildungsroman and the reader will find that the main character, as well as all the other characters, will resonate throughout, and long after when the reading is finished. I could not stop thinking about the author, the character, and the many situational ironies, consequences of fate, and so on–all of which made me thankful for the happy moments we all receive here and there before any kind of trauma exists.  For those others who may not be so fortunate, or who may be beleaguered by hard circumstances that force choices one might never have taken had one never experienced sudden tragedy–my heart has been touched forever.

I am looking forward to reading her first book, “The Secret History” because not only does she reign in storytelling, but her turn of phrases, her metaphors, and her way of telling it, glistens with a cup full of romanticism; she uses the English language masterfully. You will certainly attain your money’s worth of a read, as many others agree, for she has won the Pulitzer Prize in the year of its publishing, was considered one of the best books of the year by many authoritative journals, magazines and on and on.

The psychology in the novel, by enlisting a host of diverse characters, demonstrates a child’s loss and how that child who suddenly becomes orphaned may lack love and guidance and the way in which people survive in spite of loss but inherit an anomic character, such as the main character Leo. This is an interesting term, anomie, and is further explained in sociological definitions: https://www.britannica.com/topic/anomie 

Who is Capable Anymore?

I keep reading how “this generation is muddying up the entire culture by its Zombian characteristics. You know, education has created students without creativity, only good for multiple choices, no innovation, all robotic responses. Have you heard this?

Am I overreacting? Perhaps. But I might throw a few examples out to you. While the prior generation created a mass circuitry of internet travel for the minds of all peoples, this generation can’t pull their noses out of their phones, the television, games, and preps for college for more of the same.

Am I being harsh? Yes, I know. While mass production of self-published books is on the rise, there does not seem to be writers like generations long before, the generations of a myriad and multitude of authentic, well written, communicative at the highest level, writers of true blood and bone of narration. If we go back to the turn of the century, consider just a few authors like Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, Virginia Wolff, Flannery O’Connor, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Herman Melville, Jane Austen, Charlotte, and Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Feodor Dostoyevsky, and so many more going back to the turn. What I notice is there are more GREATS passed the c.50’s and as we get closer to our time, there are less and less great authors.

Or is this just my opinion? Is it because I studied the classics and have read more than the current milieu of authors?

I have read some authors of note and of this current time, but from the generation just before this one. There are some of note currently,  such as Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, Joan Didion, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Khaled Hosseini, and…. oh wait! None of those are from THIS generation!

What I see in this generation of writers are a lot of rebellious, privileged writers who–whether good or not–has decided they WILL BE published and not go through the gatekeepers; the big publishing houses, because, well… they don’t need anyone’s permission or standard of writing to consider themselves writers. Wow. We’ve come to a long ways from the turn of the century.

I like the idea that there are gatekeepers in larger publishing houses because the standards really are higher, and the fact that they are, make for more diligence and creative effort in writers and their work. The quality of writing is higher, and the story of writing is better told. Well, I am not completely being fair. The stories may be well told if writers create enough fodder to practice and become good writers, but at the expense of the glut of books out there that are beginning to create less interested people as readers.

Millennials, as I pointed out, are great at reading games, tv reality shows, and fluff of any kind. Why we even had to create a whole large reading section of comic book books because that is the rave today: books with pictures.

I wonder if those diseases we see growing, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and such, might be because the television generation (mine) did too much of a good thing like watching it, and now their brain has hardly a muscle in it at all. The attention span of most Millenials is so short we write books about getting our point across in seconds because we know that is really all we have as far as anyone paying attention to what you say? So reading books? God bless ’em.

I was a late bloomer, it’s true. I am a baby boomer but at the tail end. I did not go to college until I was thirty-seven after I married and had children. But having read older writers and even biblical texts, I found that my writing and communication skills were quite remarkable…until, that is, I went to college at an older age.

The first thing I was told in an “English” class was that my sentences were too long, too complicated and that I was to simplify my communication in writing. Yes. I was reprimanded for writing like the writers of the turn of the century. I lost myself somewhere in that reprimand. Oh, I graduated with a B level GPA, but it was not as I had hoped when going for a degree to teach English. I substituted for 10 years. What a waste of life that was. Schools, English classes were so dumbed down, I lost hope and finally stopped believing I would do any good as a teacher.

I have been working on one book for over ten years, editing and re-editing; worrying about being too exhaustively communicative and descriptive like Michener, or Faulkner. I am “dumbing down” my own writing and it hurts. I have begun to feel that there is no hope in being a bonafide writer who might be picked up by a big publisher. That is until I read Donna Tartt. Her book, “The Goldfinch” gave me hope.

The tide is turning. We need writers who challenge readers to work a little harder to imagine characters, imagery, tone, and landscape. We need writers to help expand the muscles of brains of today’s readers, we must get back to extending the sinews of those components that make for greater and deeper thought and passion; reach their emotions that seem lacking due to games and television. We need to have more podcast stories like the old fashion radio shows because that does similar to reading. Why not?

Why don’t we as writers prepare our work for the big publishing houses and take a rejection, maybe it’s true: we’re not that good and need more chutzpah to try a little harder. Guts for glory, that’s what I think. You’ll be rewarded by a better generation after this one if there will be any at all.


Review: The Roads We Take

Most of us have heard of J. D. Salinger, and the famous novel: “The Catcher in the Rye.” In fact, that novel (1951), and the author, Jerome David Salinger, who has since died (1/27/2010) at the ripe age of 91, has been a mainstay in high schools across America for what the novel deals with: complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, and connection (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._D._Salinger). But that was then; this is now.


Author, Ethan Edgewood is a new writer of the modern age, having written his first novel “The Roads We Take” (2016), and I might say it deals very much with some of the same “complex issues” of innocence, identity, and so forth, except not in high school, but as with many young people in their twenties, today. So this novel is quite frankly a very good assessment of today’s young people who are looking for direction in their lives. Probably a good read for the college level young adults, starting out.

What is different–and yet, the same–is the nostalgia, and sometimes poignant truth of the difficulty of getting through life’s lessons as a young person: either one grows, or falls short and into trouble, and that is the biggest theme of all, how taking one road can lead a way that helps one progress, or another road, that can lead the way you do not want to go. The excitement is in the trip, where two young men full of youth, restlessness, and mischief, find themselves wondering what might happen if they take a road trip and decide to give it a go.

During the timeframe of a week on the road, the reader finds out who these two young men really are, and what makes them do what they do, on which roads they plan or don’t plan to travel, and why.

Perhaps some may say the story’s been told, but one must remember, every story in the world has been told: it takes a good storyteller to tell it again. And this is what I’ve found. J.D. Salinger might have died, but he may have been reincarnated in Ethan Edgewood. If not, Ethan has a good grip on Salinger’s style, albeit, not exactly the same in semantics, syntax, and grammar, but close enough to say this author, Edgewood, knows how to tell a story, make the reader a part of that story, and makes the reader think about those thematic truths within the story, whether we’ve heard it before or not. I liked it, and I loved reading about the angst of and sometimes tormenting choices in, youth and human progress. To read it, one might find a wide ray of hope in humanity, once again.

IBC Review Section. Vol.1, S1

How many agents does it take to screw a lightbulb?

Depends upon how far and how bright the light; the reach of the light, what little distractions that may hinder the light; the kind of bulb that can give light for how long….

Does that sound complicated? That’s because it is. There are so many articles, authors, writers, interviewers, speakers, lecturers, all of whom claim to know how to find an agent, but the truth is: if you don’t know anyone in the business, you are pretty much out of the game.

The only way you can actually make yourself be put INTO the game is if you are a writing genius, or have such an ingenious story, or you have a lot of money with which to rub publishers’ elbows at conventions. Or, you use your money to enter every single contest, or you can make yourself known with an acute sense of marketing. Does this sound hard? It is.

One has to acquire an agent to acquire an agent! Sounds crazy but it is pretty much true in many cases, in order for someone to market your exceptional skills. So why am I trying to discourage you, if that is what you think. I will tell you my advice: work on your skills, until you KNOW your writing is perfect. Does that sound hard? It is! It means going over it to find story misgivings, problematic issues in the storytelling, character flaws or unrealistic behavior; spelling, punctuation, structure of sentences, and so on and so forth…

For heaven’s sake! Whoever told you writing was easy, anyway? If they told you it was easy, they were lying because they wanted you to buy their book, or have them coach you, or somehow, they wanted you to give money to them… be careful!

Hopefully, you have the benefit of some of the things I just listed above.

And with that grand opening, I want to talk about getting published. A funny happened on the way to the slush pile…

People started publishing their own books, to spare their egos the blunt tongue lashings or rejections, but they never considered maybe the publisher was right; maybe their manuscript was junky, or messy, or just not a good story. So they decided their work was so good they would just publish it themselves with their own publishing name. So how easy (or difficult) is this to carry out? Well, let’s look at this for a moment.

To start any business one has to have a plan, some cash, and an open market to sell your wares. For example, if I decided I wanted to start a widget business: “Lydia’s edgy Widgets,” I would have to create first a business plan, one that explains (on paper) how I’m going to get this widget business started, how I will make it fly, and how I will keep it in the air. …Why do I need to do this? Unless you are Jesus Christ Himself–the only perfect being ever to set foot on this earth–you and I both know we all have a tendency to procrastinate if things get a little hard to do. With a plan, we tend to read it step by step, follow step by step, and usually if we do that, we will get to the best part: the end of the plan… making and selling widgets like there’s no tomorrow.

Once I’ve got that plan down so well I am even impressed I wrote it, I take it to a friend who knows about these things, like…an intellectual property attorney.

“What!” You say, “Where the heck am I going to get money to visit one of those?” My point exactly. If you haven’t any access to one of those expensive retainers, you’d better ask people you know, like Facebook or LinkedIn fans you know are in the biz (or close to it–no telling how honest these folks are, either). Whatever you do, don’t ask your own relatives, they always say your stuff is the greatest, because they love you and don’t want to hurt your feelings. Am I getting even close to discouraging you? Then keep reading.

So now that you’ve gotten someone to look at your plan, (with feedback, I hope), you can start making a business of your widgets either by investing in your business with your own money, to get the manufacturing going, or by obtaining funding, which means you need to market your wares. Let’s hope your wares are already up to par, (as I mentioned before) because if they are not, you will have a difficult time getting anyone to want to invest in your cute little project.

But we are talking about writing aren’t we, not widgets. Do I still have to make a plan? Of course. you ought to have a plan about how you are going to write, how MUCH you are going to write, where you will plan on submitting your work, if you are going to hit the contests head on, or pack your bags and ride the convention circuit, or both, or none, just start mailing manuscripts like crazy. You should have all of this in your plan. Add to that, how many hours it will take you to finish one book, of poetry, short stories, or whatever your genre or specialty is, and start creating your manuscript/portfolio, and you don’t stop while marketing one, you keep writing. But once again, right here, let me say–again–you had better have your wares up to par!

In fact, your writing had better be pretty perfect! I am not merely talking about your grammar and punctuation, although that is important, but your story or stories, they had better be sensible, rational, interesting, and exciting, maybe even life-changing. Have I discouraged you yet? No? Good, you must really want to write. Maybe you must really even be a writer.

So, go on then: write on, comrades!


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