Friday, November 29, 2013

Always Working

It’s Black Friday.

If you’re a shopper, this is the day to hit the stores and stock up on things, while you can get a pretty good deal on them.

For others, it’s a day of relaxation.

And for still others, it’s a day of work.

If you are a writer, every day is a day of work.

Even if you don’t sit down in front of your computer or whatever tool you use to convey your words, you’re still working.  The back of your mind is a swirling eddy of ideas.  They are always cooking.  If you are in the middle of writing something, your mind is still at work on it, even if a single word does not get written.

A writer, unless he can leave his brain on a shelf somewhere, is always at work.

That annoying second cousin that always shows up at family holiday gatherings?  Create a character based on that second cousin, then kill that cousin off.  That rude woman in the store today that snatches the very last bargain you’ve waited for from right under your nose?  Create a character based on her, and make her a villain.

See a group of young people walking along the sidewalk?  Create a scenario that includes these young people…maybe they're on their way to prevent an apocalyptic meltdown of our civilization.  Or on their way to start one.  Either way, your mind is filing these things away for later use, if you write fiction.

If you write nonfiction, perhaps you’re studying the mechanics of each of the young people’s way of walking, and will write it inside that anatomy book that you’re working on.

The possibilities are endless.

A good writer is observant.  A good writer uses what he/she sees and experiences, and uses those experiences in their writing.  It may be fictionalized and exaggerated, or it may be factual and informational.

Either way, a good writer is always at work.

Have a great rest of your weekend.

And, keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Mine include eating a nice turkey dinner with trimmings, spending time with family, and then, writing a little bit Thanksgiving night.


I hope you and yours will have a happy, safe, and pleasant Thanksgiving.  Remember to give thanks for the things that matter.

Keep reading!

Michael (T. M.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Putting The Cart Before The Horse

Did I put the cart before the horse?

Most fiction writers start out by writing short stories, gradually building up to the point that they consider writing a novel.

I was the opposite.

I wrote two novels before I ever considered writing a short story.

My first novel, If You Could Read My Mind, was written during a period in which an idea had been rattling around in my head for some time.  I found that I had the time to spend writing the novel, so I went to work!  It wasn’t a long novel – it is just a bit longer than Hemingway’s The Old Man And The Sea – but it was lots of fun to write.  It went in directions that I never expected, and turned out to be a defining moment for me.

I spent years working in radio.  In high school, I enjoyed making people laugh during talent shows and drama class plays.  I always expected my life to be spent entertaining people in some way.

I never expected it to be writing.

That was my defining moment.  I had always enjoyed reading, and I found that I enjoyed writing.

When I finished my second novel, the Justice Security debut Mama Told Me Not To Come, I found that I had just enough energy and “oomph” to write a bit more.  I needed a way to introduce the uniformed members of Justice Security, since some of them played such a prominent role in Jackie Blue…and that led to Someone Saved My Life Tonight.  That was my first short story.

Two novels later, I decided that I needed to branch out a bit, and I wrote another short story, The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.  I’ve written five more since then, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing all of those within the next few months.

So, did I put the cart before the horse?

It depends on what you consider to be the “cart” and what you consider to be the “horse”.

Writing isn’t a science.  It’s an art.  And how you do it is totally up to you, as long as you’re satisfied with the result.

And it helps if you…

Keep Reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

No Clue Today

I have a problem.

I can’t think of a darn thing to write about for the blog today.

I didn’t write anything this past Friday – my real world job took most of the day.

I didn’t write anything this past Saturday – we celebrated my dad’s 76th birthday.

I didn’t write anything this past Sunday – I just didn’t feel up to it.

So, today, I’ve got to get back to work!

I’m spending most of my writing time on Junior’s Farm, the second trip to Sardis County.  I think once I’m through with that, I’ll be able to pick up on Hell’s Bells, the team-up between Nicholas Turner and Justice Security.

Also, I’ll be able to pick up on I’m Your Boogie Man, the third trip to Sardis County.

And, I’ve got to come up with something else for you to do, so that you can improve your writing skills.  I hope you’ve been keeping up with our exercises, because we’ll build on what we’ve done so far.

Today, however, my mind has turned to mush as far as the blog goes.  

News from the Audiobook front:  Patrick Peterson is fighting off a cold, and Scott O’Neill has a virus of some sort.  Let’s all say a prayer that they both feel better soon!

In the meantime, I hope your week is wonderful.  I strongly recommend that you, as a consumer, skip Thanksgiving Day shopping.  It’s like feeding a stray animal – if you feed it, it keeps coming back.  If you don’t feed these greedy corporate entities that are open for business on one of the most celebrated holidays, they’ll keep forcing their employees to ignore their families to feed the company coffers.  Please don’t encourage it by shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

Tomorrow:  maybe I’ll have a clue for something interesting.

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Care And Feeding Of Your Descriptions

Did you have fun describing your piece of furniture?

A good description of things and people gives your reader what he/she needs, so that they can picture in their mind exactly what you are talking about.  With that picture, they can feel as if they are part of the story.

The job of describing falls to you, as the creator of what you’re writing.  If you’re writing fiction, you are creating a time/world that your characters interact.  That world must be described as well as possible, otherwise you risk losing the reader along the way.

If you are writing nonfiction, descriptions are just as important.  Unless your nonfiction work is loaded with photographs, drawings, charts, etc., your job is to describe things as detailed as you can.  You have to include interaction descriptions, possible reactions, things used in what you’re describing…the list is endless.

But, again, I can’t express to you how important a good description can be in your writing.

Action needs description just as much as objects.  Here’s an excerpt from Mama Told Me Not To Come for an example…Louie is in the boxing match for the World Championship:

            Louie feinted with a right, then followed through with a piston-like hard punch to the face with his left.  The champ ducked slightly, so he didn’t receive the full effect of the punch, but it still shook Pyle to the core of his being.  When Louie followed through with a hard right to the stomach, Pyle knew he was about to lose his championship belt.  Pyle bent slightly from the stomach punch, but Louie didn’t let up.  He punched the same spot on Pyle’s stomach with his left.  Pyle hunched over even lower.  Louie reached back with his right arm, and hit the side of Pyle’s face with everything he had, just as he had hit Mike Swanson last week.  The punch actually lifted Pyle off of the floor of the ring, spun him around, and flung him into the ropes.  Slowly he slipped from the ropes onto the floor of the ring for a count of ten.”
                        Excerpt Copyright 2010 by T. M. Bilderback

Can you picture the action in your mind?  Remember, this is from the book that one reviewer only gave a 1-star rating on Amazon, saying that it read like a movie script.  The insult that actually was a compliment!  I love it!

That’s how your descriptions should read:  step by step.

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)