To NaNo or not to NaNo?

NaNoWriMo CrestNovember is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo.  Thousands of writers of all ages, from all walks of life, writing in all genres, from just about every country in the world, decide that during the month of November they are going to write 50,000 words – which equates to roughly 1,670 words a day, every day, for 30 days straight.

This, my friends, causes severe perspiration.  There is absolutely no time to wait for inspiration.  You simply apply fingers to keys and pour the words… Continue reading


I just heard the first rumble of thunder.  It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon and we’ve been blessed with a mostly sunny day until now. Soon, the rain will begin and if yesterday’s lightning storm is any example of what to expect today,  I’ll have to go inside and watch from there.

I’ve noticed recently that I work better when the weather is inclement, which is good since Panama is in the middle of the rainy season.

parakeetsPerhaps the problem is the distraction of unending bird songs when it’s… Continue reading

Contests – Love ‘em or Ignore them?

Ever entered a writing contest? I entered a number of them when I was younger but only one since I’ve gotten back into writing. That contest entry was an afterthought for a conference I was attending. I wasn’t successful.

Now when I receive contest announcements, I normally ignore them. Lots of rationalizations but mostly I don’t have time or think I’s worth my time. In August, I attended the Virginia Writer’s Club, Inc.’s Navigating Your Writing Life conference. In the afternoon, one session stood out about Contests and Getting Your Work Out. Based on the panel discussion, I’m again… Continue reading

Back Stories and Inspector Morse

Recently, I’ve been fashioning back stories for the characters in my second mystery, Marry in Haste. [My first mystery won’t be published until next year.] Back stories are descriptions of what happened to main characters before the novel begins. I’m adding details to the back stories of people that appear in both of my mysteries, and devising back stories for new characters in mystery #2. Most of these details will never make it into my books, but they help me understand where the characters have been, what their dreams and motives are, and why they act the way they do… Continue reading

National Novel Writing Month

In a little over a week, NANOWRIMO, National Novel Writing Month, will begin. The goal of this one-month writing marathon is to write 50,000 words, hopefully a rough draft of your next novel. If you break that down to days, it comes to about 1,666 words.

When I first contemplated taking the challenge, those numbers gave me pause. I didn’t think I could do it. I’d already been working on one book for over a year and had only half that number of words written.

The idea, however, was enticing. I went online and read about this strange… Continue reading

Creative Nonfiction: A License to Lie?

The short answer is “no.”

Then there is the longer answer based on my own experience with creative nonfiction. Perhaps a definition would be in order. Creative nonfiction is halfway between fiction and nonfiction. An author uses actual events but is allowed to shape them with literary techniques. The writer may use a plot that is not chronological, may create dialogue that might or might not have occurred, and may use flashback and foreshadowing. However, the events described should be factually accurate.

Several years ago, as I toiled away at my own creative nonfiction… Continue reading

No Time to Write?


Our lives are filled with responsibilities: family, work, and if we’re lucky enough, play. When do we have time to write?

In my first attempt at writing a mystery, I couldn’t find much time, certainly not on a regular basis. And, my work suffered. Each time I’d get back to the story, I’d have to re-read chapters to remind myself where the story had gone and where I wanted it to go. More importantly, I had forgotten all about my characters and their motivations. I found that trying… Continue reading