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Month: April 2017

Free Short Stories!

Free Short Stories!

Years ago, Guns n’┬áRoses said, “I put the pen to the paper ’cause it’s all a part of me.” We’ve moved on from pen and paper in the intervening years, but I did the 21st-Century equivalent and put electronic words onto a screen. I kept up the modernity and assembled those words into a short story set. It contains three short stories, designed to introduce you to the world of unconventional private investigator C.T. Ferguson. Here’s a look at the…

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Challenging Yourself: Writing Groups

Challenging Yourself: Writing Groups

Like many writers, I’m in a writing group (sometimes called a critique group). I checked out a couple of writing groups before joining my current one.┬áThe first group I tried to join didn’t want to take on another genre writer. This is what I’ve wondered for a while, as a general query: is it bad for a writing group to favor genre authors, as opposed to those who just write mainstream (or literary) fiction? Obviously, some groups will devote themselves…

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The Fumblerules of Grammar

The Fumblerules of Grammar

Years ago, the late New York Times columnist William Safire compiled “The Fumblerules of Grammar.” I got reminded of one of them today. If you’ve never seen them, they are hilarious and tremendous. If you’ve seen them before, enjoy another chuckle. 1. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read. 2. Don’t use no double negatives. 3. Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn’t. 4. Reserve the apostrophe for it’s proper…

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Spring Cleaning Your Stories

Spring Cleaning Your Stories

I took a couple days off to enjoy spring break with my family (my wife is a teacher and our daughter is off for the week). Like a lot of people, we used some of the time to do some spring cleaning–or, in our case, some spring clearing-out. We have too much stuff and some of it has just got to go. Early spring is a time many people use to get rid of old or unused things. What do…

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The Outline of Your Pants

The Outline of Your Pants

Are you an outliner or a “pantser?” That’s not a question about pants-wearing preferences. (After all, who doesn’t love going without pants?) It’s a question about preparing to write something. For years, I was a pantser. That is, I wrote by the seat of my pants. Each day I sat at the keyboard, I had an idea in mind, and I wrote to it. I also had an overall idea for where the story was going, so I moved things…

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