Tag Archives: writing craft

Write on Mamas – New Anthology

Hello Dogpatchers! I just read this blog post by an editor/writer from a group called Write on Mamas. They are professional writers (and those just beginning their writing journey) in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. I think the post contains some valuable insights about “beautiful writing” and what the editor learned while shepherding the group’s first anthology into publication.

So often, a piece can be beautifully written  (crafted) but feel lacking. A loooooo-n-g time ago, I took a poetry workshop and spent a great portion of the time discussing whether certain poems had “duende.” Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of the word:

Duende or tener duende (“having duende”) loosely means having soul, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity, often connected with flamenco[1] The artistic and especially musical term was derived from the duende, a fairy or goblin-like creature in Spanish mythology.

I think this is sometimes the missing element in what would otherwise be called “beautiful writing.” So here’s hoping you are all out there inviting that little fairy goblin into your work.

Link to the blog post:


Write on Mamas’ new anthology:

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Filed under Craft

Beauty and the Brain

Dear Writers,

You may be familiar with the Marilyn Monroe–Albert Einstein illusion that operates on the peculiarities of our vision system. Up close, where we perceive detail, the image looks like the great thinker Albert Einstein, but back away a few feet and our eyes will naturally adjust to a less-detailed rendering, allowing the features to resemble the stunning actress Marilyn Monroe. I think both perspectives as well as the distance at which our eyes struggle to decide who we’re seeing is interesting to a writer working to craft character.

Of course, how to describe characters when introducing them to the reader poses one challenge for writers. As emerging writers, at some point we all likely included some awkwardness in that initial description, perhaps including the unfortunate moment when the protagonist surveys herself/himself/itself in a hand mirror/shop window/pond and thoughtfully regards her/his/its own long blonde curls/spiky brown hair/man-killing tentacles. An author like the Franklin W. Dixon ghost troupe just puts it out there, letting us know by page 2 of The Secret Agent on Flight 101 that Joe Hardy is “blond and seventeen,” “enjoys joking,” and is “more impulsive” than his “dark-haird, eighteen-year-old brother.” Oh yeah, both ace teen detectives are “trim all-around athletes,” too. Continue reading


Filed under Craft, Howling at the moon

Four of Everything!

I love the idea of four! Four elements in nature, the four humors of old, four score and seven years ago, my doggie has four legs.When developing a piece of writing, a writer might consider four aspects that come into play, at the onset or eventually.

  • AudienceWho is the audience for the material?
  • ConceptWhat is the vision of the piece, its message?
  • FormHow is the message of the piece presented? As a poem, in novel form? Furthermore, within the larger categories of form, what specific genre and styles are used?
  • FormatIf published or presented, what is the packaging? Hard-cover printed book, e-book, online post, etc.

from http://www.particleadventure.org

A writer may decide the first aspect to which she relates is concept, asking herself what is the truth she’s seeking and message she’s delivering in creating a piece. For an editor, or from a publisher’s standpoint, the paramount question is, practically, about audience. Who’s going to buy the thing so we can all get paid? Continue reading


Filed under Howling at the moon