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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4 Ideas for Ending Book Chapters So Readers Will Kill to Know What Happens Next

Good book chapters are like bad treasure maps. They will lure you in. They will lead you through uncharted territory. Yet, at the end, they will not yield the treasure—they will just make you want to continue the search. What … Continue reading

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How to Plan a Story

A truth: the planning of the story continues until the last galley is ripped from your hands and the printer won’t take any more calls from the publisher, the editor, or you. It continues to the very, very end. A … Continue reading

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Fact or Fiction? How Novelists Can Blend Factual Research with Creative Storytelling

Readers who have some passing knowledge of literature might be startled when in reading The Three Musketeers they encounter a passage in which D’Artagnan refers to Gulliver’s Travels. The dilemma is that The Three Musketeers is set more than a hundred years before Jonathan Swift … Continue reading

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This day in 1918: The Battle for Saint-Etienne, France

The United States declared war on Germany on April 1, 1917. Germany had offered to return Texas and the other border states to Mexico if it would join the war on Germany’s side. Germany also announced that it would resume unrestricted … Continue reading

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