Cold Toes and The Wind

Here we see a hawk in January (we watch year-round, post as we can).

Poor thing; cold toes and a good wind.

Hawks don’t fret much about the wind.

They are the Lords of it.

All winged ones, actually.

Humans are, unless taught otherwise, two-dimensional thinkers.

We lost the third dimension twice in evolutionary history; once when our ancestors crawled out of the ocean and again when our ancestors descended from the trees.

Being two-dimensional, we’ve lost the ability to swim deep waters and fly long skies.

Pity.

There is a saying among my kind; Whenever an Old One dies, a library is lost.

We can not imagine what wisdom we’ve lost by destroying the oceans and skies.

Mystery Writers of America “Mystery Writer’s Handbook”

Another book purchased years ago and finally read because a work-in-progress, Search, had mystery elements and I wanted to know ahead of time what I should be doing and what to look out for.

 
Mystery Writer’s Handbook, like most of the writing books I’ve reviewed on my website, is a worthy read for all authors, writers, and writer-wannabes. It’s focus is mystery and its view is broad. Romantic suspense novels fall into the mystery fold. I didn’t know there was such a genre, but I do now and surprise! my work-in-progress with mystery elements is more a romantic suspense novel than not.

Like all writing books, it discusses character, scene, POV, dialogue, description, and the like. Its real power is in both plot – because good plot tends to drive most mystery and the plot techniques are gems – and editing – the chapter on revising and editing is truly a standout. An extra bonus is a short section on contracts. Many of the books I’ve read mention contracts, Mystery Writer’s Handbook provides a roadmap of potholes and things to avoid.

Strongly recommended.

Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 3 – I Take a “Writing the Other” class

My first rumination can be found at Ruminations Part I – “Your eyes are completely healed”
My second at Ruminations Part 2 – Numbers lead to informed decisions
Rumination Part 3-1 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 1
Rumination Part 3-2 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 2


Now, once you have decided these things, don’t stop and explain them to the reader. Simply develop a feel for the character’s outlook, and try to write from that outlook. To learn how to do this, read books produced by other cultures and eras, not just fiction, but also biographies, travelogues, history, letters: everything from the Venerable Bede to Pliny the Younger to Ben Franklin’s Autobiography to the sayings of Chuang Tzu to Xenophon’s Anabasis. Observe the details. What does the author take for granted? What is familiar to him and what is strange? How does he perceived himself? From this you may learn something about creating characters who are not yourself. Every professional writer must do this. – from On Writing Science Fiction: The Editors Strike Back

I took a four-week “writing the other” class led by two sensitivity readers a while back. It was about how to properly craft a character with a background with whom the author is unfamiliar.

What became obvious is the instructors were, in my opinion, unqualified. They had no anthro, linguistic, socio, or related training. It seemed their training came from being of a certain racial/ethnic group.

And because I’m a full-blooded Italian who’s never set foot in Italy, I am, of course, unquestionably qualified to speak for the experiences of all Italians everywhere throughout all time.

It’s a wonderful world, ain’t it?

At this point in history…
A writer including a character with an unfamiliar background and getting published is something which could only happen at this point in history (barring vanity publishing) because only at this point in history are people writing stuff and putting it out there with no to little knowledge of what they’re writing about. That attitude among writers and my experience (so far) of sensitivity readers reminds me of my business days when all you needed to claim expertise was to state you were an expert louder than the person sitting next to you.
Continue reading “Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 3 – I Take a “Writing the Other” class”

Search Chapter 12 – Saturday, 19 January 1974

Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters are rough drafts. I completed a rough draft of the entire novel on 1 June 2021, ~ 8:30pmET. It’s ~103k words, 42 chapters. I mention in earlier posts “…it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.”

It’s seen and done.

Read Search Chapter 11


 

Search Chapter 12 – Saturday, 19 January 1974

Pam watched the grandfather clock tick. She taught Stephanie how to tell time with that clock. She taught her boys how to tell time with that clock.

She hated that clock. For years it stood in her living room, tall and proud, loudly ticking, afraid of nothing, never hiding, its round face looking down at her and constantly reminding her what time it was, how much time had passed, how long she’d have to wait.

Her biggest problem with the clock was Bill’s pleasure in it. He found it and restored it. He already made plans to pass it on to Stephanie when it came time for her to marry.

She stood before it and spit on it. With any luck it’d stain and his repeated polishings wouldn’t be able to get it off.

The clock’s hands merged. Straight up twelve. It began to chime. Even that annoyed her. Bill found a clock with St. Michael’s chimes. Not Westminster chimes, not the chimes everyone knew, not the chimes everyone recognized, said “how nice” once and never again.

No, Bill found a clock with St. Michael’s chimes. Every time people came over they commented on the chimes. People who’d been over the house a hundred times still commented on the chimes. And Bill, like a proud father, would tell the story of the chimes and the clock and how the original bells were part of American history and he’d beam and stand beside his clock and run his hand on it and talk about the feel of the grain and the type of polish used and the size of the weights and how the left one powered the hour chime and the right one powered the quarter hour chime and how the center one actually powered the hands of the clock.

She opened the clock cabinet and adjusted the weight heights just enough to upset the clock’s delicate mechanism a few minutes each day. Not enough to be noticed when Bill wound the clock, just enough to frustrate him with their repeated miniscule inaccuracy.

She closed the cabinet and spit on the clock again.

It started the actual hour count when the phone rang. She hurried into the kitchen before Bill would hear it in the garage.

“Yes, Papa?”

She held the phone to her face with two hands like a little child, nodded and listened.

“So my boys are safe? You’re sure of that?”

She listened again and sighed. “Okay, Papa. You know what’s best.”


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Hawks Enjoy Keith Jarrett

The Wild continues to surprise us.

Case in point, this spry young fellow you see here, as yet unnamed.

We suspect he’s one of Glaxus‘ kin but so far he’s been very, very quiet.

Perhaps he’s hunting wabbits (and if you don’t get the reference, don’t worry).

Doubtful it’d be rabbits in undergrowth that dense. More likely chipmunks, voles, mice, something of that sort.

But we did notice his penchant for Keith Jarrett, specifically The Koln Concert (one of our favorites, as well).

We hope he finds what he seeks.

We wish that on all.

We also wish they’d be better prepared. Often people find what they seek and don’t realize what they were looking for until after it’s found them.