Dear Readers: Last on my list of essential elements for writing a good story is a descriptive setting. It’s the location, the era, the ether, if you will, of where events take place.  The unique place, time, and mood of my sojourners during the Great Depression would hopefully bring my story to life and make the conflicts seem real. … More Research

Another Exciting Episode

Dear Readers: Until I started creative writing classes, I thought the word sequel referred to the next exciting episode of a mystery thriller, a hit movie, or a serialized comic book. Imagine my surprise when I learned that sequel is the wedge that provides breathing and thinking space between scenes. It knits together the rock em, sock em excitement … More Another Exciting Episode

Dear Departed

Dear Readers: Before I started my writing career, I bumbled along, reading stories and enjoying various points of view. Then I started writing my story and encountered the Point of View Police head-on. Just the list of POVs was an eye-opener: omniscient, first person, third person (limited and unlimited), even one called cinematic. I did realize that switching POVs midstream from one character to … More Dear Departed

The Fourth Part

Dear Readers: I am told that in a well-written story, setting is the fourth essential element. It tells the reader where and when the story takes place and even implies the mood of each scene or sequel. It almost becomes another character. So how do I write accurate settings for a story that unfolded before I was born in places … More The Fourth Part

Third Element

Dear Readers: One of the first things I heard in writing class was there are four things that make a fictional story successful. At the top of the list is clever plotting followed closely by development of fascinating characters, both which can be created following defined formulas. The third element is more elusive. One creative writing teacher called it voice while another described it … More Third Element


Dear Readers: About half way through my first novel-writing class, I realized I’d transformed a boring, real-life story into a pretty wild ride. Now I had what my instructor called The Spine. Next, I needed to add flesh to those bones by throwing in colorful, fictional characters. These people would populate my plot and they’d grab my reader by the eyeballs, not releasing those peepers until we’d … More Sketchy

Pages from the Past

Dear Readers: My real life mother-in-law and fictional heroine died in 2009. Knowing my plan to write her life, the family bequeathed me a box filled with her personal journals, thinking these bound books would be a treasure trove of information about her somewhat murky history. I recalled her hesitant responses to some of my questions. I hoped these books … More Pages from the Past

Fact or Fiction

Dear Readers: Before my real-life heroine mother-in-law died, we spent hours discussing our plan to tell the world her life story. The first challenge: paring down the time frame. The first book couldn’t encompass her life, start to finish, especially because the finish part hadn’t happened at the time. So we agreed to start with the night she decided to … More Fact or Fiction