Jun 302014
 

Writing about fighting With split-second timing, the hero levels his enemy with a perfectly-timed jumping front kick. Striking his erstwhile attacker on the chin, his steel-like foot sends the villain careening into the two evil henchmen behind him, knocking them down. As one enemy gets up swinging, the hero rattles off six strikes to his body with the speed and damage of a cobra’s strike, and he smiles wryly as the bad guy’s body jerks and convulses before falling to the ground. Sensing movement behind him, the hero turns just in time to duck the attempted cheap shot before executing a judo flip upon his charging attacker, sending him crashing through a conveniently-placed window …

Writing dramatic battles is alluring, violence is quick, brutal, and chaotic in the real world. I learned this from fights in the playgrounds, street corners, and dive bars in Flint, Michigan, one of the “Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.” And while the School of Hard Knocks has made me a better writer, my tuition was paid with a broken nose, broken orbital bone, and various and sundry injuries. For the gentle literary types, there are other ways to learn about real-world violence that won’t put you in mortal danger. Continue reading »

Jun 262014
 
Tyrion Lannister from George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones

Tyrion Lannister from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones

Writing great characters is, for me, at the top of the priority list for writing fiction. Whether you’re looking at the next Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones, or A Song of Ice and Fire), or Billy Lynch (Charming Billy), you are seeing a well thought out character that an author spent many an hour contemplating. If you want your fiction to shine on the level or anywhere near the level of such authors as Martin or McDermott, you can’t just pick up a pen and go, you have to spend the requisite time getting to know your characters. Continue reading »

Jun 162014
 
Post topics to end confusion

Perplexed about something? What post topics would help?

I’ve come to appreciate the online community of writers. Authors generously sharing advice, experience, and expertise has made me feel a whole lot less of a clueless newbie. In fact, I’ve gotten so used to it, that when I face a quandary, I simply search Google to see what other authors have to posted on the topic.

The Redwoods Society was conceived for just this purpose. We’re always looking for informative articles to share with other authors. If you have expertise or an experience to share, contact us about guest posting.

In the meantime, here’s three post topics that would be helpful—at least to me. Continue reading »

May 292014
 

tabard innWe all find ways to inspire our writing. For me, it is often a location. I am especially partial to a nice café, a local Starbucks, or a bar with a nice ambiance. Most of all I find places that inspire memories and a sense of nostalgia to be the best writing environments.

Continue reading »

May 232014
 

The Wonderful World of Blog Tours

I love book bloggers I used to think a blog tour was when an esteemed blogger, ahem, went on a virtual tour, imparting her “voice” to various blogs. That’s not it.

On a blog tour, a book goes on a virtual trip with just a note from its author, usually around the time a book releases. A publisher or author sets a up a time period for the “tour” and sends out pitches, asking various book bloggers to choose a day during that time to review or highlight the book.

How do you hug a book blogger? By visiting their site! Continue reading »

May 052014
 

I want to become a full time author
A call to arms, if you will.

How many times have we wondered how much of it is luck? Well, my newest stance on that is “Who the heck cares!” Take a cue from Peter Dinklage’s recent quote on luck. If you aren’t putting in the sweat and tears to make it happen, you will need a whole hell of a lot of luck, and even that may not save you. Continue reading »

May 032014
 

As a follow up to Writing for SEO: Does it Ruin Good Writing?, I’d like to illustrate some painless tricks to elevate your Search Engine Optimization that will have minimal impact on your article content or writing style.

Give Search Engines Information about Your Image(s)

Easy SEO Tricks aren't magic

Easy SEO Tricks are simply ways of helping search engines understanding your content.

Two easy SEO tricks are setting your image file name and image description. When you place an image on your page, the source code of your post offers text for search engines to evaluate. If you upload an image with the filename of pic.jpg, Google finds no added value in that.

If your image is directly related to your content, help search engines out by giving your image a relevant file name. For instance, if your post is an interview with author Stephen King, your image file name should be something along the lines of Stephen-King-Author.jpg. (This is especially true of your own author photo. Always name your photos with your full name followed with the word “author.”)

When you upload and select an image to place in your post, you also have the option of setting a description for it. Most platforms call this an “alt text” or “alt title.” By including your key word phrase in your alt tag, you give Google reason to believe that your image is relevant to your content. Continue reading »

Apr 282014
 
Writing for SEO gets google results

Writing for SEO: Can writers maximize search engine results and still put their best foot forward?

Writing for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help our content reach a maximum number of readers. But, on the other hand, we’ve developed our craft so that when readers do find us, they’ll want to read more. Do we really want to alter our writing?

‘‘ search-engine optimization
the methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site… (Dictionary.com)

Does writing without regard to SEO limit our audience? Will writing for SEO ruin our craft?

The answer to both is, “it depends.”

Continue reading »

Apr 202014
 
Mug Shot

The author as “Corey Brown”

Without even trying, I tend to be attracted to literary and film characters that, like me, share a nihilistic view of life and morality. Pretty ironic, given the fact that my day job requires me to uphold and enforce laws enacted from a bunch of handed-down, subjective truths. Perhaps it’s a bit of the Preacher’s Kid Syndrome in me, but there’s a part of me that envies those pesky trickster figures that get everyone all up in a twitter. You need ‘em to challenge the status quo; to point out the ideological hypocrisies of personal values. But above all, they’re just a heck of a lot more interesting to have around.

Back in my undercover days, I had one of the most succinct, albeit brief, conversations about this very topic with the unlikeliest of persons: a coke addict. For the past month, I’d been meeting “Ken” (not his real name) in his sad, flat apartment where, beneath the seizure-inducing flicker of a dying fluorescent light, I’d hand him $160 in exchange for an 8-ball of cocaine. Quick and simple. In-and-out. Continue reading »

Apr 142014
 

revisingAs we all know, writing is rewriting. It is with this in mind that I plan on writing several posts here on the topic of revision. When revising we go through and find areas that need cutting or expansion, to tie up loose threads, create setups and payoffs, and any other areas of improvement you can think of. A great resource, though perhaps hard to get through, is the book “Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers,” by David Madden. In Madden’s book, he looks at some famous authors’ early works and compares them to their revised later works. I would like to do the same today, but with my own writing. Furthermore, I would like to focus on openings for today’s post. Continue reading »

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