So, You're a Writer - Amateur or Pro?

Confessions of an Amateur Writer
This is not about finding an agent, getting a publisher and making a living off your writing. It is about your approach to writing. Be honest with yourself. Are you an amateur with an interesting hobby, or someone who is disciplined and always learning about their craft. Here's an arrow in the leg for me: can I keep a deadline? (No.)

I have just admitted to myself that I am an amateur writer.

That doesn't mean I'm a bad writer. I have a publisher and contracts and everything. I've got two books in print. I have never seen a review with less than five stars on the Amazon. My books say something and I'm proud of them.

And yet.

Unless You're Writing for Television, You Probably Need to Plan Ahead
By etymology, an "amateur" is one who does something for the love of it. There is nothing wrong with that. Maybe you are even one of those muse-kissed souls from whose subconscious flows intricately plotted novels with the effortl…

Why I Threw a Pig Off a Bluff Into the Ohio River

I didn't really, but it crossed my mind.

Maybe it's because of my criminal defense trial background, but I worry a lot about some clever reader catching me in some stupid mistake. (My pace would suggest more than having any readers of the sequel, clever or otherwise.) This is not to say my characters don't do stupid things. Judging Angels was two inches thick of one stupid thing after another.

Watching other people do stupid things can be entertaining when they're not just stupid people, and edifying when neither are you and you can learn why smart people still do stupid things.

But what's sauce for my characters' goose is not sauce for their creator's gander.

So, I had to go back and revise the beginning of the long-awaited sequel to Judging Angels all because the Ohio River has a disappointing current speed of .5 mph to 3 mph at best.

I don't need a pig to figure out that it's going to take a body at least an hour to be carried by the current thre…

An Early Blossom in the Graveyard of False Starts

It is time to face the humiliation of my other blog. The one about the sequel to Judging Angels that I've written probably three different versions of. At least I come bearing something published in the meantime.

Saint Corbinian's Bear Lenten Companion for Bearish Humans is out and off to a good start considering it wasn't released until Ash Wednesday. An early bird even got the first review up! Here's the short trailer:

But, what about the sequel to Judging Angels? Well, it's like this. Never let it be said that Tim Capps was a writer afraid to nuke a few hundred thousand words of a version that wasn't coming together. Oh, don't get me wrong. It was some pretty good writing, and will probably be put to good use- just not this time.
I'm doing something completely different now. It's a lot simpler and follows the original Judging Angels without missing one second. I'm still looking forward to introducing the setting hinted at in the first novel of…

The Abverb Liberation Front?

Adverbs: Hate Speech Tolerated
I remember learning about adverbs in school.

Today, that prompts one of two questions. "Just how the Hell old are you, anyway?" or "What's an adverb?"

I'm old enough to know what an adverb is, and that's any word that ends in "ly." (It's more complicated than that, but there is no room for nuance.)

Adverbs are the criminals of prose. Real writers roam the streets with torches and pitchforks shouting, "Death to adverbs and the writers who use them!" Stephen King alone has killed millions. (Far fewer writers.) Editors pretend hunting down and executing all your adverbs is a wearisome task. Secret- er, possessed of a motive to hide the truth, they love the job. They keep score, you know, and boast of their kills on their private message boards. They stencil little "A's" on their desks for all I know and strive to become ace editors.

The Rules of Good Writing
Nearly every article ever writt…



More 5-Star Reviews for Judging Angels!

JUDGING ANGELS picked up a couple more Five Star reviews at Amazon when I wasn’t looking for an unbroken string of 23.

Thought About Your Style Lately?

Have You Thought About Your Style Lately?
Over at the other blog, St. Corbinian's Bear (who some people - and one Bear - claim is the actual author of Judging Angels) a comment about Walker Percy turned into a discussion of style.
Whether the Bear is right or wrong is not what I want to talk about, though. Far be it from some hack paperback writer to criticize Walker Percy, anyway.
It made me think about my own style for the first time, though. So, I flipped through Judging Angels with that in mind.
I noticed how I tell my story generally from the point of view of a scene's focus character, but usually revealing his state of mind, not what is actually in his mind.
I also noticed how slowly I dribble out exposition, keeping the reader in the dark or even misled. I set up familiar tropes only to defeat expectations. I use that to set the tone and rhythm. It also keeps the reader guessing throughout the entire novel and rewards her with many twists along the way.
Finally, I seem …