Quick-Tip Tuesday: Travelogue and Narrative

In 1987, I drove across the country with a friend. We camped and hiked and saw some amazing places. One of our favorites was Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, in southern Arizona, where we witnessed what remains to this day one of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen. We camped in the monument for a couple of days, explored some of the backcountry wilderness, took lots of photos, found some amazing wildlife. And, because I was keeping a journal at the time, I wrote page after page about the place, recording my impressions of the terrain, the climate, the night skies.

Six years later, in the spring of 1993, my wife and I spent several days on a barrier island along Georgia’s Atlantic coast. It’s a place that has an arrangement with Nancy’s university, and we were able to stay there for free. It’s an island wilderness, with overgrown […]

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So I stayed in a castle…

Today I’m going to step away from my usual grammar posts and talk about something a little different. I’m going to talk about how real physical space affects my writing.

A few days ago I got back from a trip that began with Con Carolinas, traveled through Wales and London, and ended up back home in Fayetteville. It was a long two weeks, but a lot of fun. I could write a whole post about CC, but other folks have, so I won’t.

My trip through Wales and London was for Study Abroad. I and a colleague of mine led 13 students (mostly 18-22 year olds) on a trip that began in Wales at St. Donat’s castle overlooking the Bristol Channel (the link gives some history and pictures). After six days there, we moved on to London, stopping at Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral along the way. In London we toured […]

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Turnabout is Fair Play: Your Turn to Critique MY Work

I’m taking a break this week from the Creative Intersections posts that I’ve been working on. It is just a break — I’m enjoying writing them, and the response to them has been positive, so I fully intend to continue the series on and off throughout the year. But there are other things I would like to do with my time here at MW, and today I introduce another one of them.

We — my fellow writers and I — often post about some aspect of writing or another, and then ask you, our readers, to share something of yours with the rest of us. We then offer a quick critique of what you’ve done that (we hope) will prove helpful as you move forward with your WIP. Well, today I would like to post the opening graphs of my current WIP along with a brief description of what I […]

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Creative Intersections: Point of View and Worldbuilding

Let me start by wishing all of you a happy 2013 filled with challenges, successes, and new creative endeavors. I also want to comment on something Misty said last week — the whole “whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you’ll do throughout the year” thing. I spent New Year’s Day dealing with a mild case of food poisoning, so I’m really hoping that Misty’s got that one wrong. Nothing personal, Darlin’; I just have other plans for 2013.

I usually use my first post of the year to write about goals for the coming months — things I want to accomplish, improve upon, etc. But it seems to me that my last several of these New Year’s posts have been pretty much the same. So let me just say for the record that I plan to work hard this year; that I plan to promote the second […]

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Writing Location: The Macbeth Project

Today it’s my pleasure to introduce my friend and co-writer of the Macbeth, A Novel, audio book which comes out from Audible on Tuesday of next week. David Hewson is the award winning and bestselling author of 16 books, and is best known for his Nic Costa detective series set in present day Rome., the most recent of which, Fallen Angel, is currently getting rave reviews in minor local papers like the New York Times and Washington Post. He has a special gift for today’s topic which we is evident in ourShakespeare adaptation, an extract of which you can hear for free here.

Please welcome, David Hewson.


Real estate agents in England (and perhaps elsewhere) have a saying. The value of a property is down to three things. Location, location and location. Books are more complex than houses, but they share a little of that quality too. As a […]

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Back to Basics, part VIII: Opening Lines

Continuing the “Back to Basics” series, I would like to use today’s post to focus on the opening lines of our novels. Yes, I know: I’m not exactly moving in order here; rather, I’m jumping around a bit, talking about research, submissions, writing to a certain length, etc. To be honest, I’m choosing my topics week to week, essentially on a whim. I also realize that opening lines is not exactly a new topic; we’ve touched on this before. And we will again, I’m sure. But today I would like to try talking about book and story openings in a slightly different way. I can never tell if using examples from my own work helps or not, but that’s what I’m going to do here. Hopefully they’ll serve as illustrations for what I’m trying to convey.

Let me begin with a confession: I obsess over the first lines of my […]

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Bonus! Descriptive Passages, part IV: Dialogue

First off, allow me a moment for a shameless plug: After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar, a new anthology from Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray will be released tomorrow, March 1, by DAW. The anthology includes the very first D.B. Jackson publication, a short story called “The Tavern Fire.” The story is set in the Thieftaker universe — in other words, 1760s Boston — and even includes a character from the Thieftaker novels, although not my lead character. It takes place on the night of the Great Boston Fire of 1760 and offers one possible explanation for the fire’s origins. After Hours also includes stories from Laura Anne Gilman, Jennifer Dunne, Juliet E. McKenna, Anton Strout, S.C. Butler, and many others. Check it out. And while you’re at it, check out the newly launched D.B. Jackson website.

Before taking time out last week to mark the Presidents’ Day holiday, I […]

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