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.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Politicians: Overlooking the Characters We Hate

When it comes to real life characters or fictional ones, readers and writers often overlook politicians, dismissing them as boring and stupid. The evening news is a source of constant frustration as we hear about that ship of fools we call Congress. We quickly change the channel. But wait. Think about it.

While stupid might be an apt description, boring is not. These people have power over your life because you have given it to them. Understanding the twisted minds who seek to rule us is a story in the making. What convoluted logic makes a white man think he has the right to dictate to women what decisions they should make concerning reproductive rights and abortion? What about the politician who preaches family values and condemns those who fail to meet his standards but doesn't think the rules apply to him? Why do people in office seek to shield the wealthy, but strip the lower classes of any hope for survival? The list of betrayal of public trust is endless.

We see these characters every day. Posturing and lying before the TV cameras, comfortable in the assumption that most of us are too harried or stupid to pay attention and seek the truth. How do these perfect antagonists live in their schizophrenic skins? As a writer, I want to know.

How about you? Do your stories include politicians?


  1. I've never included a politician, because I'm afraid it would be a cliché, but I've gotten pretty close with my latest wip: My MC's best friend/roommate works for a member of Congress. I don't know how much of him I'll include, though; so far it's just been a plot device for explaining why the roommate is never home. :/

  2. Good luck with that. You never know--politicians can be interesting bad guys.