The Other Half of the Job

Quick Tip Tuesday

The title is actually a lie because there are sooooo many “other halves” of the job of writing for a living, it gets pretty fractional if you do the math. I discover a new one almost every day. The one I wanted to briefly touch on is actually pretty boilerplate, but after a recent social media post I read from a fellow writer, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to revisit what a lot of us know, and maybe take a little for granted. One of the most important “other halves of writing” is reading. If you want to write, you need, NEED, to read. I read a post from a social media buddy who was on a panel at a convention and listened to one of her panel-mates say, somewhat proudly that she didn’t read, that she was too busy writing to do that. Okay…what? Most of […]

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The Mayor’s Tale

Quick Tip Tuesday

Greetings True Believers, as Stan Lee would say! Sorry for my absence a few weeks back. Things have been pretty crazy around here , getting the third Golgotha book, The Queen of Swords out the door to my publisher, and I had the honor of being a guest at ConCarolinas, and got to visit with some wonderful folks (many of them contributors to this blog) who made me feel very proud to be in such esteemed company. But now, the initial rounds of edits on Queen are done, and I’m hard at work on the sequel to Nightwise, Crystal Myth. While editing some stuff for Queen of Swords, I had occasion to review some of my old chapter summaries and character notes I wrote for the first Golgotha book, and my first published novel, The Six-Gun Tarot.

I’ve mentioned previously, that I am not a huge plotter. […]

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Colorful Language

Quick Tip Tuesday

Hi, everybody! This is again a short and sweet post, due to me being it the home stretch of finishing and editing my third Golgotha novel, The Queen of Swords.

I read a post by the lovely, and amazingly talented, Tamsin Silver a while back with some very handy links to various goodies to help any writer in a bind to find the right word. Well, I found an addition to that archive that was very helpful to me in a few spots in the novel.

The link: Provides names and examples of all kinds of colors you might have need for when you really don’t want to say “red” for the fifteenth time. Of course use this sparingly or else you may end up sounding a bit eggplant…er, I mean purple.

I hope you enjoy and find them useful, or at least diverting. See you […]

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The Last Dragon

Quick Tip Tuesday

No wisdom this week, gang. I’m on deadline for my latest novel and that’s breathing down my neck, hard. Just a little piece of advice, take it or leave it. I hope you take it.

A little over a week ago, I lost a piece of my life. A huge, raw, bloody hole remains there now. I lost someone I loved, cherished, and who taught me wonderful and painful lessons about life. She was someone I assumed would always be around because I simply could not conceive of life without her. My dear friend…friend doesn’t cut it…I’m not sure there is a word for what Leslie Phillips Barger was, and still is, to me.

She was an English and theater teacher who had a passionate love affair with the language, and with ideas. She loved people, even when they might not always be worthy of that […]

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The League of Extraordinary Beta Readers

Quick Tip Tuesday


I’m on deadline to finish my third Golgotha novel, The Queen of Swords, so this week’s tip is going to be short, sweet, and to the point. It just occurred to me that “short, sweet, and to the point” is a very long-winded way of saying, to be brief…

So, to be brief, this week my tip is a tip of the hat to the wonderful folks who will soon be reading and commenting to me on my new novel, my beta readers. These are the folks you trust with your baby away from home for the first time. They see your raw work and you trust them to tell you what’s good, what’s not, and how to best improve it. Also if you’re lucky, they have a good grounding in grammar, structure, and spelling.

Stephen King says in On Writing, to write with the door […]

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Trust Your Editor

Quick Tip Tuesday

By R.S. Belcher

A few years back, I was hired by a business magazine to write a cover story on the growth of the NASCAR industry in Virginia and some of the spin-off technologies and businesses that the growth had spurred across the Commonwealth.

I ran all over and interviewed a bunch of folks, including NASA engineers and the governor of Virginia, and then gathered all my notes and recordings and pictures together and then sat down and wrote my 6000-word article.

My editor for the job, a very nice fellow, sent me back his edits and revisions to the article with no comments, just lots and lots and red. I got pissed. He was not just correcting errors in grammar, style and usage, he was moving around information, asking for clarifications of what exactly I meant by certain words. He never replaced his words with mine, […]

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The Great Pants-Plot Compromise

The Great Pants-Plot Compromise

Quick Tip Tuesday

Sorry for the late hour of this posting, my friends, I came down with a case of life interruptus, but if the writing gods are kind, this will still be posted before Quick Tip Tuesday is but a memory. Now, before I begin, let me throw in this disclaimer—This works for me, it may not for you—your mileage may vary. Okay, good. Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk for a bit about how you build the story you plan to write. There are two strategies that are most often cited when it comes to developing your story.

The first school of thought is “pantsing:” This free-form writing, literally you write by the seat of your pants, just dive in, head first, and start writing your story, letting your imagination lead you down the garden path, and hope that the end […]

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