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Posted By John Poindexter

"How long are we going to stay here, Steve?" Jim said.

"Until I'm sure he isn't here."  Hawks looked around from the tree line to the ridge, while Mike stepped into the woods.

"Freeze," shouted a Security Guard coming out from behind the bushes and pointing a gun at Hawks’ chest.

Mike came out behind him, hitting him hard enough to knock the gun from his hand.

"Who the hell are you and what do you want with us?" Hawks said, grabbing and pulling him to his feet.

Before he could answer another guard jumped out and opened fire.  The bullets were pounding into the back of the first individual. Hawks was glad that he had put on his bullet-proof vest.


Dreams can provide some interesting scenes, if you can remember them when you awake.  The above came from one of my dreams and lasted for the first twelve pages of the new novel Dirty Bomb.

The hardest part for most people is to remember what they dreamt about in the morning. If you were to awake from the dream, then grab a notebook and write down all you can before you lose it.

There are many nights when your characters will visit you in your sleep. Just hope they don’t wake you and want to carry on a long discussion about where they want to go. Mine seem to come when I least expect it and then they stay around for quite some time. Of course we don’t always agree on which route a story should take, but they seem to win a lot of the arguments.

Have a notepad or even a tape recorder by your bed in case a great story comes along somewhere in your REM phase of sleep. You don’t want to miss the start of the next great American novel.


Do you dream story beginnings or happenings?  Are your dreams in color like mine?


Tell us about your experience. Leave a comment.

Posted By John Poindexter

This week is another week of grading essays instead of writing. It seems that at this time of the year my writing takes a second or even third place in my time schedule.


With a house over hundred years old, it rears its ugly head every once in awhile to say I come first in everyone's life. Recently, this has been true.


But, let's talk about writing.  I just read a great blog on word count and how long should a novel be.  Her recommendation based on the editors she interviewed was 80k to 100k.


Now I thought my story was complete, all points wrapped up and the ending coming to a nice situation for the main characters. But no! According to the scale of 80 to 100, I am about 30k short.


Now what should I do? Go back and add a bunch of fluff or invent some more sub-plots to extend the book to that 80k minimum limit?


It will have to be one or the other that is for sure. This means more sleepless nights as I lay there wondering what fluff to put in or developing more sub-plots to add to it and where to stick them.


You would think that in this stressed economy book companies would want tighter (smaller) books that have a complete story and not a lot of filler to make it a 100k.  It would be cheaper to print, thereby making it able to make their money back faster.


But, being that I, too, am a new writer and trying to break into this field of publishing, I will create more words to bring my first novel up to their word limits. The second one is already over their limit so that should not be a problem.


Now, you say why not go with the second as the first one.  Would be great if it wasn’t a series and book two builds from where one lets off.


Okay, so what do you think?  Are shorter books a better idea in this economy for the publisher or not?


What do you think of the 80 to 100k word count? Is it still reasonable?


Post your comments for all to read


Read more about word counts at The Swivet, which is maintained by Colleen Lindsay.


Thanks and see you next week.



Posted By John Poindexter

What do you do to improve your writing ability, besides write that is?  This week I am bringing you a list of great sites that provide excellent articles.

For proofing tips, see Hart Johnson's blog at    Roz Morris, a professional writer offers great advice on her Blog at    K.M. Weiland writes historical novels and Blogs about writing techniques here:    Nathan Bransford, a literary agent has over a dozen articles on his Blog.     Jessica Faust has a list of must read Blog posts that will keep you interested at    

I hope that you enjoyed their selections, and I look forward to seeing you again next week here on my Blog.


Please leave your comments on what you read to enhance your writing ability.

Posted By John Poindexter

Okay, have you thought of what type of novel you want to write?  Last week I talked about the different genres there were to choose from.


This week we need to look at getting started.  You will need some place to be able to sit and type or write out your story. You are ready to do this, right?


My world is harder to write in now that my son and his family are living with us, but I enjoy having the grandchildren here. You, too, will have interruptions and have to stop to answer questions, the telephone, or whatever you have at your place that causes you to stop in mid sentence.


Now where were we, oh yes!  Someone wrote this week on a blog that you do not have to write every day. You will read in the writing books where they say you must write each day, even if it is just a little bit. I don’t agree with them. If I feel like writing I write, if not then I don’t.  Now if I were on a deadline with a publisher to have edits done or a new book finished, I would probably be writing every day and night.


This brings us to how we write.  Do you need an outline, note cards, or what?  I did use an outline for one of my stories, but not for the other two. It can help if you have all your ideas down for what you want each chapter to contain. Then again, maybe your characters haven’t told you what they want yet, in that case you just need to start writing and see where it goes.


Once you get going, you will know what to write as your characters or the story itself will tell you what to put down.  I started one of my stories from a dream that I had. This filled up about a fourth of that book and led me to where it wanted to go for the rest.

You will find that once you get started the ideas never stop. You will lay there at night wishing sleep would come and thinking I have to be to work in four hours, please let me sleep. But, they won’t.


Most of the time you will be forced to get up and write down what they want you to know, then maybe sleep will come.  Is this a reason to stop writing?  No!  This is a reason to write more.


Now get started and next week we will talk more about this novel you want to write.



Do you have suggestions for this new writer?  Please leave your comments below.






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