So you can read my books

Monday, November 19, 2012


First ...

these past 3 days, I've had a busy work schedule and an average of 3 hours sleep a night.  That after working 7 days straight.  Whew!

So, to all my friends who've missed me  ... I hope you can forgive me.

That, and Victor insists I get him out of the latest no-hope fix I put him into in the latest chapter of THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT! 

(SHE WHO BREEDS is about to give birth to the Nameless Ones, and Victor "don't know nothing about birthing no monsters!"  A take on a line from GONE WITH THE WIND.)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled post ...

Snoopy insists Barnaby Conrad, co-author of SNOOPY'S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE, took the six rules to great novel writing from him.

 (Don't miss Mr. Conrad's great book for under $2, LEARNING TO WRITE FICTION FROM THE MASTERS):

  But as for Snoopy's claim about those six rules, Woodstock is his witness so ....

You choose who came up with these interesting SIX RULES TO A GOOD NOVEL:

  1. Try to pick the most intriguing place in your piece to begin.
  2. Try to create attention-grabbing images of a setting if that’s where you want to begin.
  3. Raise the reader’s curiosity about what is happening or is going to happen in an action scene.
  4. Describe a character so compellingly that we want to learn more about what happens to him or her.
  5. Present a situation so vital to our protagonist that we must read on.
  6. And most important, no matter what method you choose, start with something happening! (And not with ruminations. A character sitting in a cave or in jail or in a kitchen or in a car ruminating about the meaning of life and how he got to this point does not constitute something happening.)
Hone your opening words, for just as stories aren’t written but rewritten, so should beginnings be written and rewritten.

Look at your opening and ask yourself, ‘If I were reading this, would I be intrigued enough to go on?’
And remember:

Always aim for the heart!

Charles Schulz classic 1997 comic strip from SNOOPY'S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE, a steal at $1.25 used:


  1. Joe Cool is my fave incarnation of Snoopy.

    'and Victor "don't know nothing about birthing no monsters!" ' (I knew where that came from, wasn't it Prissy?) Who'd want to birth monsters anyway? I saw Rosemary's Baby.

    Sounds like a rough work schedule. When do you rest?

  2. Poor guy,

    No wonder we haven't seen you ... You are always missed.

    Thanks for the tips on starting a novel. We all should know this, but it's great to be reminded.

    IF I don't get a chance to drop by, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I hope you a few days off to enjoy it!

  3. D.G.:
    Not too surprisingly, Snoopy the writer is my favorite Beagle incarnation. :-)

    Yes, it was Prissy. My co-workers let me know just how little acquainted with the classics (movie or book) most people are these days!

    Rest? What is that? LOL. I slept most of today, then wrote 10 pages of THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT. Victor is now left, as I said, in a truly bad spot. His job is to keep those monsters from being born. With Coyote, the Trickster, as a helper, Victor is in deep merde.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! I am working Thanksgiving Day to give my co-workers with families a chance to be with their loved ones. I need to sell the movie rights to Victor's adventures!!

  4. Oh, love these! Particularly "Describe a character so compellingly that we want to learn more about what happens to him or her."

  5. E.J.:
    That is especially important: why would we want to spend time with someone boring or irritating. I started watching the first episode of REVOLUTION and got so irritated at the selfish (and dangerous) disregard of the girl for the safety of her companion with asthma, I switched off.

    Also it was a girl hero with a bow right after THE HUNGER GAMES. Wow, how unoriginal. :-)

    Thanks for visiting and staying to chat, Roland

  6. Start with something happening! Excellent advice, Snoopy.
    After the first draft, the rule is to edit until it doesn't suck...

  7. Alex:
    Excellent advice. A lot like Elmore Leonard's "Cut out the boring stuff." :-)

  8. Hi Roland .. take some lessons from someone who knows ... I just loved the way you summarised my post on Sugarman - but I guess the personal bit wasn't in it ...

    Snoopy knows his stuff though .. he's had enough snowflake rejections ..

    I hope Victor is being released from his dangerous bonds ... and that you can have some sleep ..

    Have a good Thanksgiving - if you get that break ... cheers Hilary

  9. Hilary:
    Your post on the Sugarman documentary was much more in-depth and revealing. My poetic post was merely to point people to your lovely post.

    Alas, no Thanksgiving break for me. I volunteered to work it so that my co-workers with families could enjoy the holiday with them. :-)