Tag Archives: prolific

Tips on Tuesday: Old Dogs Teach New Tricks

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

So the husband’s out of town. I was wandering around the place and realized how much of my old “junk” is still in his closet. (We’ve only been married about two‑and‑a‑half years). On the floor was a large, heavy box wrapped in layers and layers of plastic wrap… my daughter’s doing the last time I moved some five or so years ago — Thank You! Wanting to know what was there, I cut a little slit in one end of the box, revealing a very full box of old magazines. I pulled the end one out, and left the rest. Ahh! My good old, trusty Writer’s Digest magazine — not even dusty.

The picture on the front sported a close up of Tom Clancy, “His Best Advice for Writers,” backed by a large piece of military equipment, sprouting guns: the January 2001 issue. And the really scary part is I have boxes out in the garage that could have some dating as far back as the mid – ‘70’s! Should I lighten the load, and dump all of them? I decided to check up on the magazine as a whole, and certainly the Clancy interview C after all, I’d loved his books!

The Table of Contests listed a number of topics:

50 Spots to Get Published —many, maybe even all, could be dead and gone.

Must‑Know Info on Fair Use and Copyright —I can only imagine how things have changed in 14 years.

Writing to a T: Crafting a Templated Article —I wonder how much of THAT translates to now? There could be something, but probably not much.

Find Freelance Work in Want Ads —many newspapers which carried “Want Ads” are dead now too.

Hot Book Marketing Tips —most didn’t have a clue about how marketing would morph back in ‘01!

I won’t go on. Most of this could easily be tossed —there are only a couple of pieces I’d glance through first.

Then “A Conversation with Tom Clancy” by Katie Struckel: I turned to p. 20, just to see. Clancy was standing in front of a full book case, with a quote beside him: “The one talent that is indispensable to a writer is persistence. You must write the book, else there is no book. It will not finish itself.”

Well, that much is still accurate. And someone (oh, yeah: that would have been moi!) had highlighted a few pearls in an aqua shade:

“Writing a book is an endurance contest and a war fought against yourself …”

“Try to keep it simple. Tell the d@#%*$ story.”

“… it’s necessary to describe the tools my characters use to lend verisimilitude to my work . . . [it] provides texture that adds to the richness and plausibility…”

After having seen a PBS presentation about Hitchcock and his films, Clancy opined: “Suspense is achieved by information control. What you know. What the reader knows. What the character knows . . . balance that properly, and you can really get the reader wound up.”

His advice to aspiring writers? “Keep at it! . . . Do not try to commit art. Just tell the d@#%*$ story… fundamentally writing a novel is telling a story.”

I still find Clancy’s advice to be completely viable. The technologies have changed, as has the publishing world itself. Now Clancy’s dead and gone. But his books are still around. The words in this interview still ring true. He sure made waves while he was “here” — and he can still show us something about how it’s done.

I’ll clip and keep articles that are interviews, or in some other way are still timeless. I mean, who wouldn’t want know what was on Charles Dickens mind about writing, or in Edgar Allen Poe’s brain, or, somewhat more recently, the prolific Isaac Asimov’s? Now there’s a man who left volumes and volumes of material C and it=s still relevant.

As I find more “gems,” I’ll pass them along. I can’t just toss out all that “old” stuff.

See you next for Thinkin’ on Thursday!


Leave a comment

Filed under Tips for Tuesday

Thursday’s 13: RAW-HA!!! [Readers and Writers-Helping Authors]

  EASY AS A, B, C . . . from BB

Got word a few days ago from author Rachel Ann Nunes that a beloved Utah author, Anita Stansfield, Rachel Ann Nuneswas in need of some help. I’ve been privileged to hear Anita speak at a writer’s conference a little while back.  She is kind, fun, interesting, and a terrific and PRO-lific writer.

Anita StansfieldRachel Ann tells us Anita Stansfield has Celiac Disease, which has caused severe damage in her body. Through the years of treating it, she has also had breast cancer and multiple surgeries. She needs our support while she heals enough to go back to writing.

After first posting about Anita’s illness, Rachel Ann added another post to say Anita had told her she’d read the comments on Rachel’s post and broke down in tears. She’s “been in a very tough spot and she is so grateful for the help.”

If you care about writers, books, healing or one of our great authors, please . . .

«    buy one or more of her books (I love historicals; bought the first 3 of The Buchanan Saga)

«    make a donation by clicking on Rachel’s  Donate button

«    help Anita directly—instead of (or in addition to) buying her books you may:

«    mail a check to Anita Stansfield, PO Box 176, American Fork, UT 84003

I’ll give you 13 reasons to help—and there were more than four times this many listed on her website:

  1. The Buchanan Saga:The Best of Times by Anita Stansfield
  2. The Captain of Her Heart
  3. Captive Hearts
  4. The Captain’s Angel
  5. Hearts Crossed
  6. The Byrnehouse—Davies & Hamilton Saga
  7. Gables of Legacy series
  8. Trevor Family Saga
  9. Keane-Morrison Family Saga
  10. Barrington Family Saga
  11. The Jayson Wolfe Story (series)
  12. The Dickens Inn Series
  13. Shadows of Brierley

. . . and so many more, including Christmas stories, specifically LDS fiction, and essays.

Rachel reminds us we are each only one person, “but together we can find a way to help . . .”  Thank you for buying, reading, donating, and/or passing this along!

See you day-after-tomorrow for “Saturday’s Softcover”


Filed under Friends, Thirteen

Saturday’s Softcover: My Mother was an “Elizabeth” Too!

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

My mother was named Margaret Elizabeth, but I never knew her to go by Margaret, or any of its wonderful permutations: Maggie, Meg, etc. In fact, she didn’t go by any of the changes to Elizabeth either—it was always full throttle: Elizabeth. And she loved movies. She felt very connected to two famous Elizabeths: Queen Elizabeth, who named her son Charles—my brother, almost exactly the same age, is named Charles. And she loved Elizabeth Taylor. So, when I saw Lu Ann Brobst Staheli’s book entitled Just Like Elizabeth Taylor, I knew I “just” had to read it.

The book is tender, frightening, angst-filled in part, funny, and ultimately— mostly—very happy,81N-fns-EuL__SL1500_ though I was in tears at the end.

Liz, named Elizabeth for the movie star, becomes Beth when she runs away from home. How will this young girl, not yet a teen, make her way on her own?  Actually, a lot better than she can do at home where her mother is too weak to give up the boyfriend who beats her, and Liz cannot fend off the boyfriend’s loathsome son.

Plucky girl that she is, she steals some money from the “boyfriend,” and runs away—but only as far as a fairly nearby town. She finds an abandoned shack at a winter-deserted K.O.A. place, where she manages to have bathroom/water/ electric amenities, ekes out her meager “savings” with school lunch and occasional lunch leavings from other students.

As the school year draws closer to an end, “Beth” must find a way to make a friend, save a lunch lady, let her mother know she is still alive, find a more permanent home, and bring justice to her “real” family, while maintaining a decent GPA so she won’t be “found out.”

At every moment, I was aware that the author had taught junior high school for years: she knew the angst, the failures, the desperation of some, the heartlessness of others, and the pluck of the brave. Just before the ending I was in tears: not because it was sad, but because I was so angry at what happened to “Beth” next: pulling all the threads together, the horrific scene had me crying for the unfairness, the drive, the caring this young girl exhibited. It was a fitting triumph, finally.

I know Liz, the lost girl. I know Beth, the loner. I know Elizabeth, the winner. I’ve taught those high school, junior high school and middle school kids too. Read it, and you’ll know them as well!

 See you day after tomorrow for Monday Moans!

A1YSS+kQ4cL__SL1500_BTW, the prolific Staheli also has a book, A Note Worth Taking, about “best” friends, surviving lost friendships, making new friends—you know, all those things we suffered in junior high or middle school. I’m reading it next—you should too: it’s on sale at Amazon for $0.99 through the end of July.

Leave a comment

Filed under Softcover