What is First Draft?

First Draft is my personal newsletter. I let you know what I’m up to, such as the talk I’ll give March 17 to the Writers League of Texas at Book People, in Austin. I give you updates on how writing … Continue reading

 
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From Tet to Tet in Vietnam: March 10-11, 1968

COURAGE, WITH NO HOPE:  THE MEN OF RADAR LIMA SITE 85 The last North Vietnamese attack of the January Tet offensive began on March 10, 1968, when NVA soldiers scaled a cliff at Phou Pha Thi, Laos, to destroy an American radar site … Continue reading

 
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Hope, and Courage. On this day…

The Tet, February 29, 1968 The Tet attack on Huễ became the longest battle during the Tet offensive of 1968. It began when Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops stormed the citadel, or fort, of the city of Huễ on January 31, 1968, and overwhelmed … Continue reading

 
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Hope and Courage

On this day in 1968, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, American marines defended the assault on Khe Sanh that had begun with the Tet Offensive. North Vietnamese and Viet Cong attacked the marine air base with trenches and artillery in … Continue reading

 
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Touching the Past: In Honor of Veterans

The way led down a paved road, then another mile on a rough road past a farmhouse, then off the road altogether along a rutted lane that disappeared into the woods.  Two turnings later the path stopped in a forest … Continue reading

 
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St. Crispin’s Day, 600 years on: We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

October 25 is St. Crispin’s Day, originally celebrated for a cobbler who was martyred by the Romans in AD 286 but in modern times known for the startling English victory over the vastly larger French army at Azincourt on October 24, 1415.  For … Continue reading

 
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Over there: Dulce et Decorum Est

Among the rows and rows of graves and amidst the linden trees of the Meuse-Argonne American Military Cemetery the cool breezes of eastern France gently suggest the lines from Horace that ‘It is sweet and right to die for one’s … Continue reading

 
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A Novel Approach to Writing Fiction

Apart from grammar, there are few steadfast rules for writing books. Some of the most revered works tell the ending on page one, use unconventional structures such as three line paragraphs or one paragraph chapters, or employ run-on sentences that … Continue reading

 
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Starting Your Novel: Little Things That Make a Big Difference

You have the story in your head. You’ve overcome the time / space conundrum so that you’re alone with your word processor at your kitchen table or, better yet, in your study. Now, all that’s left is to get started … Continue reading

 
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Take Your Writing Seriously

“What I find hard about writing,” Nora Ephron said, “is the writing.” There’s a difference between writing and typing. Writers produce. Typists reproduce. Okay, that’s a bit harsh. Writers believe that a story worth telling is worth telling well. Writers … Continue reading

 
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