clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Cleaning of the Pens

At left, the cleaning of the pens at hand.

I use the copper Lilliput from Kaweco despite it requiring cartridges. It travels well even on airplanes.

There is a Lamy Studio pen in there with the ink converter reservoir. Also a couple of Cross pens one of which is an anniversary gift from 1999 and so never leaves the desk, now. It's an adventurous pen.

I've completed a couple of non-fiction works over the course of the spring and the summer. I've been to Rocky Mountain National Park and Yellowstone Park in that same time. I've chased trout a great deal. I've rolled out a new product to a customer. I've improved my chess game.

It's been a good year so far but for fiction.

I have drafted a few incomplete runs at short stories that have gotten stuck in my throat. They're still there.

I've written a couple of new short stories both of which need some work. One is quite good but needs the polish I haven't done in the last month.

Now, back to long form fiction and a story I've figured out how to tell.

Am I good enough yet to tell the story I intend? We'll not know unless I do the work all the way to completion.

First, the washing of the pens.

Now, the writing of the prose.

It'll be a grand autumn. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Details, Details

It's been a bit.

Image at left hosted on wikicommons. Original: Stephane Magnenat. Thanks!

I told myself I wouldn't update the "writer's blog" until I'd reached a milestone in the latest project. I have.

So, keep at it. Every word helps.

The devil is in the details. Good thing old Nick and I are on familiar terms.

I'm still at it. I'm making progress.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

On the Page

Image above from Przykuta and Ellywa as hosted on wikicommons and used here with attribution.

I spent some time this holiday going over some iced drafts of short stories from early 2017. Each of the five had been iced after a considerable bit of work marking each as "nearly ready" but for another word choice pass and maybe a little more trimming-down.

I find in each of the three dark stories I have broken characters but too little of the "broken" part is spilling onto the page. The characters are not sufficiently wounded or react with a sufficient wince to the stories' pin-pricks dwelling on their past mistakes.

Too little mayhem on the page. I know, right?

The topics are serious. The conflict is serious (is there any other kind?), the stakes are high; but,  the emotional tumult of the situations are inexpertly expressed.

Remember in The Road the early section where McCarthy has the father and child enter the old gas station and the father picks up a telephone to call his own father's number from the "before" and the child turns asking, "What are you doing?" That pinprick of criticism in a child's voice bringing all the missed opportunities and unfinished business of the "before" and the almost scathing reminder to focus on the "now" resonates so clearly that even my inept relation of the piece here makes sense to you.

The father is burdened by his memories and experiences of what he lost. The child knows only this present desolation and has no patience for anything but the current, the "now" -- nor should the father indulge himself given the current tumult.

I need this pinprick of resonance and I've missed it. If my protagonist's adversary is a mirror of his opposite's twisted experience and wounded perspective, put it on the page!

  So, the light pieces where crime is sanitized and acceptable, fine. In the pieces I intended to master when I started with the pen seriously again here eight years ago, I missed it.

I see it now, though. Revisions can fix anything. I've almost got the chops now to say that with real confidence instead of false bravado.

Almost. Pretty damn close.

I've got some good stuff in here folks. I'm going to get it out very soon.

I hope you do as well.

Let's spill some of the best and brightest ink we can this winter's session.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Left, a funerary urn from St. Columba's, Stewarton, East Aryshire. Photo courtesy Rosser1954 and hosted on wikicommons for the mere price of attribution.

Every image we craft in prose has a backstory.

We have to know it. It influences the behavior of the characters and the things about them. We authors know it.

The reader may discover bits and pieces but largely, the backstory is not for them.

My story tonight is all backstory so we'll parse it out in one decisive edit. There. Gone.

I have been left a fabulous hook from an unfinished tale.

Up to my efforts now.