Hump day thoughts

I am a member of the Clay County Writer’s group. We meet once a month, and there is usually a “professional” writer or editor who presents a facet of the trade to the members. This evening we had an editor along to discuss basic mistakes she sees all too often in her trade.

Her talk was enlightening in some respects. The use of ‘default’ words and fall-back phrases writers fall into because they can’t think of another way to begin a sentence or describe an action, or always starting a sentence with a gerund – Louie La’mour did this as a matter of course: “Turning, Cabel stood and reached for his…”, and over-description. This is a nasty one, because it does not allow or encourage the reader to build a scene in his or her own mind. It gives the reader the excuse to drop your book and pick up another. It bores the reader to tears, in fact.

I have been writing for a few score years, and I still find myself falling into these traps. That is one very good reason to find an editor.

Here’s another thought:

Writing is a solitary activity. You need peace and quiet within and without yourself to write well. At the same time, writing is not something you can do all by yourself. There is no contradiction here. The act of writing is by nature solitary, but a solitary writer is a poor creature, indeed. Get out and meet other writers, join a writer’s group and get to know the people. You share similar likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams. Make professional connections. And friends. These are not people to be afraid of.

I hope you are having a good week, wherever you are.

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About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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