Thursday, October 11, 2012

What It's All About

   Writing that first entry is often torture. Hels, writing that first line or paragraph of any story is often comparable—in the writer's mind, at least—to being waterboarded.
    I'm not belittling or condoning any form of torture—and that is all that waterboarding is—so much as pointing out how some writers struggle for a lead, for those magic words that willl entice and beguile the reader to read on until the last period has been dropped. This is particularly true for those writers who are working on deadline—all those hapless reporters out there.
    We've spent hours or days, or even longer, researching and interviewing and chasing people and our heads are full of the story. It's one hour and ticking until presstime, and all we have to do is put all that research, interviews, and the rest into a comprehensive and coherent piece that will do whatever it is we want it to do to the reader. We know what and how the meat of the story is going to go, and a summary will usually suffice as an ending. But it's the lead—those crucial first few words—that we often agonize over.
    And that's really what the first entry into a new blog is: a lead, a reason for the reader to not only read the rest of the entry but to take hiser time to keep coming back for more.
    So, this is my lead, then. Did it work? Will you see this through to the last period? More importantly, will you be back? Will you, like Oliver Twist to Fagin, hold up your empty bowl and implore, "Please, sir, may I have some more?" I obviously don't know, but I do hope so.
    I suppose I should tell you what I envision this blog as being—and, more importantly, what I see it as not being. As it says in the header, this is a blog by and about writers and their craft. Here, I shall write about how to write and mistakes to avoid. I'll use my Editor's Voice from time to time because I am passionate about writing and the proper use of one's language. The rules I shall discuss will apply mostly to the English language, and specifically to American English—other languages have their own rules and I'll let their experts deal with them. English is complex enough and is so casually and routinely slaughtered that those of us who care about such things have quite enough to do just dealing with those.
    It won't be just dull English lessons, though. I also plan to talk about certain books—particularly my own, of course, and those of some other writers whom I know or admire, like Suzy Stewart Dubot or Gary Weston, Anna Scott Graham, Dr. Elizabeth Rowan Keith, and a great many others. In fact, I plan on asking some of these authors to write an entry or two here. I see this as a form of cooperative for writers, specifically Indie Writers, but I'll certainly not turn a print author aside. I mean, if Rowling or Kathy Reich or Grisham want to share some of their experiences with me, I'll welcome them warmly.
    I'm sure other ideas will come up from time to time, as with any good blog, but you have the gist of it. There are certain things it will not be. It won't be a celebration of me. It won't be to brag about my accomplishments or exploits. Any part of my past I reveal will be as part of a larger issue and not just to show what a great guy I am. It will not be a political or religious bandstand—your political and religious beliefs are your own and you are welcome to them so long as you accord others the same right. So no campaigning for any candidate or issue not directly involving the art and craft of writing, and no religious dogma or proselytizing.
    That's what I see this blog as being: simply another place writers and those who sincerely want to be writers can get together, share their knowledge, and just hang out.
    So, have you stayed with me this far? Did my lead work? I hope so, and I hope to see you back when you can. Oh, and one more thing: like so many other indie authors, I have a day job—well, night job, actually, but the idea's the same—so don't look for daily entries or even regularly occurring entries. It ain't gonna' happen. How often will I make entries? Dunno, so you're just gonna' have to keep coming back.
    I suppose I should talk about some conventions I use that may deviate from "normal" English. For one thing, I try to make my words gender-free; that is, I use words such as "hiser," "himer," or "hesh" instead of the masculine his, him, or he to eliminate any gender bias - unless I happen to be talking about someone who actually is male. Same applies to strictly female pronouns, and the cumbersome he/she, or he or she or, even worse, it. I want my writing and this blog to be all-inclusive, y'see, and this is my way of helping it be that.
   So, let me hear from you. I always enjoy reading others' ideas and opinions. I may not agree, but I do like reading them. Just remember: be polite and respectful.



  1. Well, you held my interest until the end. I would now like for you to throw in some particular subject or issue to your soon-to-be fans to give them a threshold from which to launch themselves.

    I shall certainly be looking in on a regular basis, a little envious that you have crystalised something I would have liked to have done myself.

    Slàinte !


  2. Ya know, I was planning to do just that. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. From that opening line, you knew I'd be hooked...

    And oh yes, I'll be back! :)))

    1. Glad you liked it. Guess it served its purpose, then, didn't it? That's so heartening to see.

      I'll look for you back.

  4. I like your lead in, and I can relate to the importance of the first few words...also, the torture that usually results for writers trying to get them right! Looking forward to upcoming posts.

    1. Thanks, Chris. I'm glad the lead enticed you to read on - that is always a compliment.

  5. A huge thank you to David for his support and encouragement for Starlight Army and also The Amazing Abbey Jones. Abbey was one of the few fictional characters in Starlight Army, the other main players being real people. Abbey was too delicious not to have her own book and boy, what a busy book it turned out to be. I really put the poor girl through hell.
    Su Kane and Cerbarus from the Revolting Animals Motorcycle Club will no doubt post on this blog soon. They are over the moon with David's piece on Starlight Army. Again, thanks for allowing me to promote Starlight Army on your blog. You are a legend, David.