Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Frustration: Slab Leaks & Elevator Pitches

My life this week is dominated by slab leaks and elevator pitches. I don’t know which is more frustrating.

In California, most homes are built on concrete slabs so that we can rock n’ roll when an earthquake hits. Unfortunately, all the damn plumbing is embedded in these slabs. When a leak develops due to corrosion of the pipes or high water pressure, it’s a big deal. It can mean a whole lot of tear-down and reconstruction. And dollars. My incredible son-in-law has come to our rescue and volunteered to reroute all the piping. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will not turn out to be the project from Hell.

But when it comes to elevator pitches, I have to figure out how to do this all by myself. I hate it. It’s much easier to write a novel than boil a whole novelistic concept down to two sentences. I will probably be writing this pitch over and over again. Hate it? Love it? Sound off, if you like, and tell me why. Here it is:

In the 1960s, Elizabeth Leigh leaves behind her unhappy Midwestern life and visits her California cousin. She falls into a whirlwind romance with an up-and-coming real estate developer and embarks on a Mississippi road trip with her cousin and a native American named Laughing Hawk. A trip that starts as a lark forces Elizabeth to chart an unexpected course.

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