Patter of rain Drops against glass The old woman sits Rocking her chair Drought gives way to A lake of mud That primordial paste That womb for spring flowers A perennial remembrance Of fast-fading dreams Of a flower fresh-plucked Of a dimpled smile on A love long gone
When I was younger, I could write anywhere and could listen to any music in the background while I wrote. That’s less true the older I get. The best place for me to write now is someplace that I can have silence. Occasionally, I can still listen to certain songs while I write, but those moments and songs are rare.
A lot of times, I get writing done when others have gone to bed or kids are napping. My wife is supportive of my writing time, so there are times when we don’t have anything else going on that she helps me carve out time to myself. If the weather is nice, then I love being able to get some time to write outside, especially if I’m able to go to a park or someplace where I can be by myself.
So, there are several places that I consider best for me to write, but usually it involves quiet and alone time.
How about you? What if you write, draw, compose, or create in some way, what is the best environment for you to work? Also if you have any questions for a future Q&A, drop it in the comments below!
On the one hand, it offers a bleak realism of people who long for more and dream bigger dreams, but find themselves failing under the weight of unforgiving societal ills and the expectations of others.
On the other hand, it doesn’t leave the reader in despair. Glimmers of light shine in the darkness, even if they’re not always easy to see. There is tragedy and there is hope.
The book is hard to put down. The two main characters are relatable and sympathetic. You can’t help but root for them even when the world seems against them.
4.5/5 stars, an example of indie publishing at its best.
Author Q&A: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
There’s a lot of writing advice out there, and some of it is contradictory. You’ll hear some recommend to never use adverbs while other people think adverbs are our friends. Truth is, you can overdo and underdo almost anything. Good writing takes practice and you find your balance over time.
The best piece of advice that I’ve personally received is: Know your first draft isn’t great. Don’t edit as you go. Just get the words on paper and then go and edit when you’re finished.
I’ve had far too many stories end up going nowhere but the trash heap because I got bogged down in editing, didn’t make progress, and grew bored or rushed off to another idea. I still have a strong desire to edit as I go, there’s a perfectionist in me. However, I now force myself to hold off on editing until the end, unless it is a major plot point that needs changed, or an inconsistency that I notice.
This has allowed more stories to make their way to completion.
How about you? What is the best piece of writing advice that you’ve received? Also if you have any questions for a future Q&A, drop it in the comments below!
Declan is Meredith’s teenage son–dyed green hair, a bit messy, freckles, and a smile that has a way of getting him out of trouble. Robert is her foster son, a year older–tall, well-kept, and the starting QB of the football team, though insecurities lurk under his facade. They didn’t have an easy start a year ago. One fight landed them both in the ER. Now, they’re like brothers. Meredith loves her life and her boys. All is well. Until the caseworker calls.
Another boy? His name is Tanner and he’s the same age as Declan. That would be three high schoolers crammed into a a single room. And what about the promise she made to her son? No should be the answer and it would be the answer if it was any child but Tanner. When Meredith hears his father’s name, everything changes.
She and Daniel were in love once, though that seemed a long time ago, another life even.
But the shy, red-head boy brings them back together.
Author Q&A: Which of your stories did you enjoy writing most?
This one is a little tough, because when you’re writing a story or a book, especially when the words are flowing well, each one is your favorite in the moment (at least that’s been my experience). If I don’t like writing a story, I don’t usually keep writing it. That said, thinking of everything I’ve written, my short story “Burn” (in my collection Of Stars and Space: And Other Stories) is my favorite.
That might seem odd in that it wasn’t the easiest story for me to write.
The idea for “Burn” came about after reading a lengthy article on Burning Man several years ago. That inspired me to write a story that was originally meant to be about a father and his two sons taking a trip to the festival and their experiences there. I stopped, started, scrapped, and rewrote for a year and could never make the story work the way I wanted.
Then, I shifted focus. I saw a show where a main character was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and she had to face the reality that she was going to die young. (If you’re not sure what Huntington’s is, visit: https://hdsa.org/what-is-hd/overview-of-huntingtons-disease/. The short version is that it’s a genetic brain disease that causes physical, mental, and emotional breakdown during what is usually a person’s prime years, and leads to early death. There is no present cure.)
The story took on new life. It became the tale of a young man diagnosed with Huntington’s who decides to do all he can to “burn brightly” before the disease takes its toll. It’s an emotional roller coaster as he comes to terms with his mom’s death (also related to the disease), goes on adventures with his brothers, and marries the love of his life, all with the knowledge that his days will be cut short.
I love the story because it ultimately is about the meaning of life and making the most of each day, something we can take for granted when we think we have decades still before us.
Oh, and Burning Man still makes an appearance, but more of a background event. Jackson, the older brother of Chris (the main character), returns from a trip to Burning Man with college pals and tells Chris about the fun he had. With Chris still in high school, the two decide to put on a backyard version with their brother Tanner and Chris’ best friend, Alex. A flaming effigy finds a place at the story’s beginning and end, ultimately becoming a metaphor for Chris’ life.