So you can read my books

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Victor Standish here. Where's Roland you ask?

Well, he's a bit under the weather.

In fact, he says he's so under the weather that he's got the bends!

As to where Roland is, he's so ill

even he doesn't quite know,

except that it is somewhere in the vicinity of the backend of an 8 ball.

So being his bud, here I am.

But what do I know about writing? Hey, I'm Victor Standish, and I live on the streets of the French Quarter by knowing plenty.

Including how to write.

Quit snickering, Alice.

Think about it :

what you need to write well you already know just from living.

I.) Like Elu, my Apache grouch of a teacher, would say :

A.) To master yourself is the 1st step in mastering story-telling.

B.) In other words : life skills are story skills.

C.) You don't have to take lessons like with tennis to survive on the streets.

D.) But what you do need to know :

1.) Mind your surroundings before they mind you.

2.) Be aware of the pattern of predators before you become prey.

3.) Routes of escape : spot the exit soon as you slip through the front door.

E.) Put those details into your story, and it will seem real.

(But it won't be real ...)

II.) Good story telling seems real but isn't :

A.) It's Compressed

1.) Unlike life, a good story is compressed.
The interesting stuff is linked 1-2-3 ... with all the boring stuff left out.

2.) Unlike life, a good story makes sense.

a.) If your life is like mine (and I feel sorry for you if it is) then most days are filled with things that flat don't make sense.

b.) A good story has to make sense if you want your reader to stay with you ...

those three ghosts promised at the beginning of THE CHRISTMAS CAROL had darn well better show up.

3.) Unlike life, a good story is focused :

Target on those happenings that are important to your hero. Ouch! OK, Alice ... or to your heroine, too.

a.) Focus in a good story leaves out all those irritating things that don't push the story forward.

b.) No hands (or details) pushing sideways on my stalled car, please.

B.) All reality doesn't contain truth -- I mean, listen to those politicians.

1.) But your story has to ring with truth in order
to sell it as real to your reader.

2.) And it must fit the story type you're writing :

You don't try to fit an eagle in a parakeet cage or a pit bull in a terrier's doghouse.

3.) Knowing what size canvas you need is what prose painting is all about.
It'd be hard to write about the air war in WWI through the eyes of a soldier who spends the story in the trenches, coughing up nerve gas.

III.) Good story telling first depends on you having a good story that grabs the reader and won't let him go.


A.) Some woman in Wal-Mart cut in front of me in the 20 item line. And get this : she had 21 items. (Yawn.)

B.) Some crazy lady in Wal-Mart pulled a gun on me and took all my money, then she shot the clerk as she ran away. She turned to me as she flew out of the door, and you'll never guess what she yelled at me.

1.) That's a story that you NEED to tell.

2.) More importantly, that's a story people WANT to hear and to know what happened next.

IV.) A good story is closure.

A.) Closure -- yeah, that funny sounding word you adults use all the time when the pain hurts too bad to get your mind around it.

B.) You want to know Victor Standish's definition of closure (even though, like Huck Finn, I don't do school)? :

Closure is just a kid-glove way of saying "making the equation come out right."

You know, X + 5B = 3Y ("Unsupervised Politician + Lots of Money = Theft.)

C.) Finding a meaningful outcome for rape, murder,

or a mother abandoning her son in mean city after mean city.

You know, like that.

V.) A good story doesn't necessarily have a happy outcome ...

Just a way of living with it


Dying because of it.

(I've seen some people who could only find closure in the grave.)

A.) Sometimes tears are the only way to finish the story, the moment, the situation.

B.) Sometimes tears are the only answer to the equation of life.

VI.) But life, like a math test, always has new problems to solve.

A.) And so does the good story.

B.) The closure of it only leads the reader in search of another connection, another good story.

C.) Seeing the road going on for some or all of the main characters leaves the reader feeling as if she had dropped in on the events of real people

with real lives that go on over the horizon.

VII.) Leave them hungry for more ...

Speaking of hungry, I hear growling ...

Ah, Alice, is that your stomach growling?

Alice? Alice!

Don't look at my fingers like that.

Sure, you're a ghoul. But you're my ghoul FRIEND.

What do you mean I wouldn't miss one little finger?

Hey, Roland! Quick! Where's the roughest street around here? Fast!

Damn. I bet Harry Potter never had problems like this!

Love theme for Captain Sam and his lost love, Meilori :


  1. Oh, Yay, I get to comment first....

    Excellent lesson Victor.... Roland must have gave you many pointers....

    Thanks Roland, I hope you feel better. Come on, you get pull yourself out of you slump.... creaky bones and all... You're just having a bad day.

    I hope you have the weekend off of rejuvenate.

    Another great cover....

  2. Thank you, Victor!

    Roland, feel better! Relax and do something nice for yourself.

  3. Hope you feel better Roland.

    I liked the line about seeing the road going on for some or all of the main characters--after the book has ended. Yes. This is what I felt in most books I love. Harry Potter being the best one. In fact I wanted to join them somehow. (:

  4. Hope you feel better Roland.

    I liked the line about seeing the road going on for some or all of the main characters--after the book has ended. Yes. This is what I felt in most books I love. Harry Potter being the best one. In fact I wanted to join them somehow. (:

  5. Bloody brilliant. Love: No hands (or details) pushing sideways on my stalled car, please.

    Hope you feel better Roland, and Victor, thanks for the advice.

  6. Get well soon Roland. Thanks for leaving us in good hands :-)

  7. What a treat to have a lesson from Victor, but I do hope you feel better soon, Roland!
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  8. I'm sure Harry didn't! LOL! I'm so sorry to hear that Roland is sick, won't you please send him my warmest thoughts for a quick recovery to health, Victor? ;)

  9. Love this. You're writing style is so much fun!

  10. Michael :
    Just a bit of a late summer cold combined with fatigue! LOL.

    Victor does certainly know, or thinks he knows, quite a bit about writing -- says he learned it from me ghost-writing his autobiography!

    I am mostly off this weekend. And didn't Leonora Roy do a great cover?

    Talli :
    Thank you for another great read with your latest book. Check Victor's out, will you? Free sample, of course.

    Lorelei :
    Good to see you here. Thanks for feeling like me that the best books are the ones you want to leap into the pages and join in the adventures. Have a great weekend, Roland

    Victor says, "Thanks, Ron!" :
    There'll be no living with him now that you said his advise was bloody brilliant. Sigh. Thanks from me, too! LOL.

    Sarah :
    Yes, thanks to the worst part of this town, those hands still have all their fingers! Thanks for visiting and chatting. Roland

    Raquel :
    I'm feeling a bit better now. Victor grumbles that more people buying his book would make him feel much better. Alice just kicked him for you. LOL.

    Heather :
    Victor smiles wide whenever a pretty lady talks to him. Alice is now edging dangerously to him. And I am feeling a bit better. Thanks for the well wishes.

    RaShelle Workman :
    It's a pleasure seeing you here again and to hear such praise. Thanks! Roland

  11. Thank you, Victor! I especially appreciate your reminders to leave out the boring. I sometimes feel like I'm cheating by glossing or entirely skipping some of the nitty gritty details of daily life that aren't plot-important. But hey, if I don't have the patience to write them, certainly the reader won't have the patience to read them, right?

    I hope you're feeling better soon. I enjoyed getting to look at your book covers as I scrolled down---they're gorgeous!

  12. Nicki :
    Victor here - Yeah, if you don't skip those boring parts, the reader will do it for you by skipping ahead -- but they might miss a crucial plot point. Ouch!!

    Roland is feeling a bit better. Alice prompted him to do when she mentioned that in her time doctors made the patient feel better by bleeding them!

    And then she demurly offered her services, showing her sharp little teeth.

    Roland jumped right on out of that bed!!

    Didn't Leonora Roy and Orietta Rossi do amazing jobs on those covers. And STEVE Z's photography made my covers leap out at you, too!

    Roland here : Come back, plese. And Victor is whining about you checking out his book. Alice just giggled. Ah, at least I think it was a giggle. Brrr. Roland

  13. Great points Victor. Thanks!

    Hope you feel better Roland.

  14. Dear Victor,
    This was not the post I was looking for (I need to scroll down one more post) but I enjoyed reading it. Good advice for a wannabe writer like me!

    Please tell Roland that I hope he will be feeling better soon.

    Best wishes,

    For the benefit of other readers:
    Anna's 'An Unusual Bouquet' RFWers challenge No 19