Month: November 2013

A Thanksgiving Recap

My Thanksgiving started early, at 6:20 in the morning, my wife advising me that she needed to go to the hospital.  I watched the parade in its entirety on a TV in the ER, and the dog show as well, while they ran tests.  I checked my watch, counting the hours until our guests were due to arrive.  If necessary, I could buy eighteen turkey dinners from the hospital cafeteria.  It was just past 2:00 when we left the hospital.  Nothing serious; nothing to worry about.

But I was, perhaps, a tad behind schedule.  I got the turkey out of the apple brine and set it up to smoke outdoors, over hickory, alder and applewood.  I put my son in charge of making sure my wife didn’t do anything strenuous.  And then we got to work on the sides.  Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, bread stuffing, sweet and savory stuffing, mushrooms with peas, cauliflower au gratin, gravy.  Everyone pitched in.  And sometime last night, we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner.

ImageImageTruly, I have much to be thankful for.


It was a good night to be a writer in New York City

Sometimes I worry that writers are becoming obsolete, that we are, at best, quaint relics from a simpler time, but then something happens and I am reminded that writers continue to serve an important role in modern society.  Tonight was such a night.  I was walking in Manhattan when I was stopped at the corner of 8th Avenue and 23rd Street by a good looking woman riding a bicycle.  She needed my help.  It soon became apparent that she needed the kind of help that could only be provided by a professional writer.  In a city of more than 8 million people, I marveled that she had somehow stopped a writer on the street corner.  I didn’t tell her of her good fortune, but when she asked me in her best come-hither voice if I knew the past tense of “ride” I smiled and proudly answered “rode.”

It was a good night, indeed, to be a writer in NYC.

Does your book need a chorus?

I didn’t plan to post another tip to boost your word count quite so quickly, but some of you are still struggling to find your rhythm.  So if you liked yesterday’s tip (dorky day)  you’ll love today’s suggestion.

Repeat a chapter.  That’s right.  An entire chapter.  Did you ever stop and think about the lyrics of popular music?  All those verses telling some sort of musical story, and between each verse, a repeating chorus.  And when you go out drinking with your friends and you hear the song, and no one knows all the verses, but everyone knows the chorus.  And everyone sings the chorus, in a drunken celebration of life.

Wouldn’t it be cool if authors were treated like rock stars?  Wouldn’t it be cool if readers sang along with your book?  They would if your book had a chorus.

So what I’m suggesting is that between the chapters that move your plot forward (your book’s verses) you write a short repeating chapter (your book’s chorus).  Before long, you’ll hit 50,000 words.  And you’ll have drunken readers reciting your chorus in bars all across America.

Dorky Day

Some of you are writing 50,000 words this month.  That’s approximately 1667 words every day.  Some days that’s easy enough.  Other days, it’s nearly impossible.  So from time to time this month, I may post a tip to help you reach your daily goal.  Today’s tip… repeat a word.

Not just one time.  One time will do very little for your word count (and this month, it’s all about the word count).  Repeat the word 1667 times.  Job well done.  Pour yourself a drink.

I know what you’re thinking.  That’s just silly.  But it’s not silly.  It’s dorky.  In chapter 21 of the Fan Man (pages 153 – 162 in my edition) William Kotwinkle repeats the word dorky approximately 1700 times.  Horse Badorties explains it this way “Constant repetition of the word dorky cleans out my consciousness, man, gets rid of all the rubble and cobwebs piled up there.  It is absolutely necessary for me to do this once a month and today is dorky-day.”

So it can be done.  And if today is one of those days when the words are refusing to flow, then it might be time for one of your characters to have a dorky day.

Of course, you might want to pick another word.  After all, dorky is already taken.  So what word will it be?