Posts tagged ‘writing style’


Once again, I shall visit the importance of the power of observation in a writer’s life, and once made, to lock it into your memory for future reference. Come to think of it, here’s a question. Does the power of observation form the writer, or does the need to write develop the power of observation? In other words, which came first, the writer or the observer?

I’ve been walking our dog, Millie, taking advantage of the pleasant autumn weather before they’re replace by the harsh days of winter, and in the process, reviewing memories.

My family enjoyed tent camping, and one of our favorite destinations was Rickett’s Glen State Park located in the middle of northern Pennsylvania. A large man-made lake (a site I used in a horror story) is set in the park amongst the campsites and trails. We always brought along our canoe or Folbot (a collapsible kayak) and set up camp at a site right on the lake’s edge so that a short walk had us in the water.

The park is a popular place for families, and the occasional group of teenagers, to enjoy nature and bond. I distinctly remember one camping trip when, as usual, the park was full of families, mostly with young kids riding their bikes along the dirt and gravel trails and enjoying the vacation. The campsite next to us, however, gave off distinctly different vibes. Occupied by a solitary man, perhaps in his fifties, with a modest tented campsite along with a kayak for one. I watched him one morning as I cooked breakfast. His breakfast consisted of a couple beers, then he carried his kayak to the lake and was gone. The rest of the campground was filled with laughter and the sounds of children at play.

I often think of that lone camper, for observing him provided a wealth of story possibilities. All the other campers seemed to enjoy their time in the park – nothing there.

Here are some links where you may purchase my work.

Melange Books

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November 21, 2014 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment


Presently, I’m in a quandary about the subject of this piece, my writing style.

Every writer has his or her own style, the way of expressing in word the thoughts they are trying to convey.  How does this characteristic of the author originate?  Is it some deep-seated voice that represents your essence, or is it merely a manufacture of all the authors whose works you have read?

My reason for pondering this question is that I am in the process of editing my novel, Sweet Depression, and in this endeavor I am attempting to cure what others have pointed out to me as a major fault – my brevity.  I tend to concentrate on the core of the story and leave out details that would give the story more life.  But where is the line you must be careful not to cross when that life would morph into a boring existence?

Take a look at your bookshelves.  If you’re as voracious a reader as I and share my fault of not being able to part with a book once read, those shelves are overflowing.  Science fiction and horror are my writing genres, but lately some of my stories have spilled into the murky boundaries of the thriller.  But back to science fiction.  I look at the science fiction novels of fifty or more years ago and those of today and see a distinct difference.  Older science fiction is more concise, more to the point.  Of course, you have the epic series Dune written by Frank Herbert and continued by his son which are massive in length, tomes of a complex series.  But I look at H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds which is little more than  a novella and see the more typical length of science fiction of a bygone era.

Recently I have talked to writers whose work are massive and needed to be cut for publication.  My work doe not require deletion but rather addition.  But how much to add without diluting down the story or slowing the action, that’s the quandary.

While thinking this piece through I may have come up with the answer to my problem.  It is not the length that is important, rather the content and the skill of the writer.  Talent is the bottom line.  The writer must take the readers by the hand and lead them down a path without detours causing them to lose their way.  And when the readers reach the end of that path, if the writer has been successful, they are left with a treasure.


March 24, 2014 at 7:21 pm 1 comment


The following is my observation of the writer to be constantly aware of the world he or she occupies. I do a great deal of reading, both fiction and nonfiction, and as I read find a great deal of depth some authors give, to their characters in the case of fiction or the events they are recording in the case of nonfiction, by asides that bring to their writing, details which enliven their work, springing from the well of their life’s experiences. These details are born from a life spent closely observing their world. Only from my limited experience as an author do I speak of the importance of a keen sense of observation necessary to enhance your stories, bring life to your characters, to add dimension to their experiences.
To those experience authors who may stumble across this blog, I am perhaps stating the obvious, the power of observation and the ability to file those observations away. Then as a character is being developed, you go back to that well of memories to breathe life into that being of your imagination.
Can this strong power to observe be taught?
When an individual decides to become a writer, if he hasn’t already spent his life in absorbing the world around can he suddenly begin?
Are writers born or created?

September 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment


As mentioned in my last post, I would like to discuss my writing style or lack there of.
I have this fault when writing novels, but it really rears its ugly head when I write short stories. I think about the story I’m going to write for quite some time before I put one word on paper. When I’m finally ready to begin writing I am in such a rush to write the story, my first draft is always written with pencil and legal pad, I tend to write a bar-bones story lacking details that would make it more readable and interesting. Hence, one editor said my stories were like outlines.
Let me demonstrate.
Betty was cooking dinner when Harry walked into the kitchen.
Earlier in the story, who the characters are, may have been established. If not, this sentence raises many unanswered questions. Who are they? What is their relationship? What do they look like?
To give some depth to the scene: What is Betty cooking? What are the smells? What does the kitchen look like? Not all of this may be important but some detail will help form a mental image to help the story along.
I hope to improve my style in my upcoming work and in the stories I have yet to publish walking the fine line between detail and padding.

July 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment


In my last piece where I discussed how my approach to reading a book has changed since becoming a writer, I mentioned that I noticed that some authors overwrite. They add a vast amount of unnecessary detail which pads, and in my opinion, slows down the story.
I, on the other hand, feel I don’t give enough detail. I have had stories rejected where the editor said that it wasn’t a story but an outline. I hope to remedy this and will discuss it my approach to the ‘fix’ in a future piece.
The example of an author that gives far more detail in his stories than I feel is necessary is George R. R. Martin. I know this may ruffle some feathers and that he is all over the bestseller lists, but I stand by my observations.
I have read a couple of his books and what I find is an opulence of description that is totally unnecessary. If there is a banquet, he describes in great detail what people are wearing. There is nothing wrong with this, but to go on and give the history of garments and belt buckles I find does not add anything to the story and slows down the action to a crawl.
Another fault I find in his very popular series is a total lack of advancement in technology and the life of the characters. In one story he talks of a sword that has been in the family for a thousand years and is in use by the current generation. In the course of a thousand years, shouldn’t some advance been made in warfare, for better of for worse.
I have read another fantasy series, The Codex Alera, by Jim Butcher. His stories are fast paced and not padded by details that add nothing to the story. His characters use ‘furies’ which are natural powers of the earth. In one story he explains that the culture once used an advanced technology which is now long forgotten. Since the discovery of the ‘furies’ the technology became obsolete. I find this detail more satisfying than believing that no advancement has occurred in a thousand years.
These are the observations I have made as a writer. If you want, let me know how right or wrong you think I am.

July 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment


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