Monthly Archives: April 2013

Finding the Writing Moment in My Alien Boob

This would be porn in an alternate universe. Here it is just weird and unnerving.

This would be porn in an alternate universe. Here it is just weird and unnerving.

Hello from the Dogpatch,

People, I am sooooo busy at work! You know the feeling you writers, bloggers, professionals of all sorts. So you’ll understand how my extreme busy-ness by necessity translated into me lying in bed this morning using my Android phone camera to take a picture of my boob to see how it’s holding up when I’m, well, lying flat on my back unmoving and definitely not editing that magazine article.

I’m getting ready to turn 50 on Halloween, so maybe this year I’m a little more prone to take stock, check out the status of various body parts. Not that I expect to look like a 20-year-old supermodel, but I was expecting something to actually show up on the camera besides negative space.

To clarify, the lower right quadrant of this image is my boob. The greenish part upper left is, I think, the shadow off my green wall. I have no idea about the black stripe with twinkling lights in the middle. I guess it’s the shadow of the spaceship. Continue reading



Filed under Howling at the moon

Shakespeare – Sonnet for Writers

shakespeare books 006


“Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,
Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste;
The vacant leaves thy mind’s imprint will bear,
And of this book this learning may thou taste.
The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show,
Of mouthed graves will give thee memory;
Thou by thy dial’s shady stealth mayst know
Time’s thievish progress to eternity.
Look, what thy memory cannot contain,
Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find
Those children nurs’d, deliver’d from thy brain,
To take a new acquaintance of thy mind.
These offices, so oft as thou wilt look,
Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy book.”


Those “in the know” believe this sonnet was inscribed in a book with blank leaves. 

Put it at the top of your own blank page for inspiration.

Happy day after the great Shakes Day!!



Filed under Howling at the moon

Pixar’s Story Tips

This dog

Dogpatch white dog

was wandering around through someone else’s blog this morning, Circles Under Streetlightsand discovered a fab reblog of Pixar’s story writing tips from the Indie Writers Guide.

Check out both sites for additional great info. 

Hope your Thursday writing selves are getting things done!

Leave a comment

Filed under Craft

“A Work in Progress” – The Writer Responds

Hello from the Dogpatch. In a previous post, members of the pack commented on “A Work in Progress.” Here’s my response to that feedback. To see an excerpt and the original comments, you can scroll down or go to:

I have wrestled with story length throughout the entire gestation period of ‘work in progress’: too little content for a novella, too much for a short story. Yet the main thrust of your comments seems to be that you want to know more about these characters; want to see further development in the relationship between my feckless narrator and the fearsome convict, Shoehorn. And so, as always, it comes down again to that ceaseless battle for any writer of having to decide what to include and what to discard. James Joyce said (I’m paraphrasing here) it’s not what you leave in that makes a story great, but what you leave out.

And wasn’t it Donald Rumsfeld who said, ‘Revision is the soul of art’? Continue reading


Filed under Dogfight

Dogfight: “A Work in Progress” by Wes Pierce

White Raven (source: photobucket)

Hello from the Dogpatch, and welcome to the dogfight! Here’s a selection from a short story by Wes Pierce, followed by critical comments. Dogpatch Writers Collective occasionally posts these excerpts of our group critiques of work in progress, and we’d love to know what you think about the excerpt or what we had to say about it. 
This story isn’t titled yet. Wes called it “A Work in Progress.” To give you some context, a feckless ranger is assigned to lead a busload of work-release inmates to build fire breaks during the Great Western Fires: 

This was when Shoehorn took over. Never in my life had I seen a man handle an instrument the way Shoehorn did an ax, nor take such joy in physical mastery over an object. He would set his initial cut on a downward slope, one clear ringing thwak! burying the head of the ax right up to the handle. With a booted foot he pushed to dislodge the ax-head from the tree; then another thwak! at an upward angle, lower down from the first and right up to the handle again. Finally a third and a fourth stroke to the topmost angle — then a fifth and sixth, maybe a seventh, to the bottommost — and out plopped a hunk of tree the size and shape of a large slice of watermelon. He would do the same to the other side of the trunk, lower down: seldom more than two or three dozen strokes total and the heart of the tree lay exposed and vulnerable. You almost could have pushed the tree down with a good shove of your boot.

Shoehorn was taking down trees twice as fast as any of the rest of us. He was like a machine. Looking again at those arms of his — it seemed now to me that they ended in massive knuckled appendages, hard and shiny from usage, like hooves — made me think of the hydraulic machinery in those old black-and-white movies based in newspaper offices, with their shots of the giant presses churning out the next day’s breaking news in those swirling montages.

 And so while the rest of us dug trenches or paired off and went to work with the whipsaws, Shoehorn struck out on his own, taking down the smaller and medium-sized trees in a more or less straight line several hundred feet ahead of us. Since there wasn’t always enough equipment to go around now, there were times when each of us got to rest; which was fine, I guess. But I didn’t feel much like sitting back and watching, for it always had been my unhappy lot in life to sit by and look on, with envy or disbelief, at those guys who knew how to accomplish things with their hands. On a branch above me a squirrel watched too, a small pine cone paused ruminatively before its mouth, while all around us men busily went about their business. Just about my whole life it seemed I had been unwilling poster child for the inadequacies of a Liberal Arts education. I could only stand aside as other guys fixed their own cars, or impressed the girls in our dorm by rewiring a broken washing machine so those luscious young honeys could wash their delicately-soiled underthings, while I watched my t-shirts and jeans and white cotton briefs roll and tumble impotently in a dryer nearby.  Continue reading


Filed under Craft, Dogfight

Hot Gravatars

gravatar-change-thumbHello from the Dogpatch!

I am in love with Gravatars. I love seeing how everyone has designed their gravatar—one a smiling face of a hardworking blogger, one a favorite pic that holds meaning, another a classy and colorful branding for a themed blog.

Not that I’m the first to notice, but there’s something really cool about the way they make unique art when lined up in a sidebar. I love seeing the different colors and images randomly lined up and noticing when a blogger with whom I’m familiar has changed up his or her gravatar. Continue reading


Filed under Howling at the moon