Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Writing Life

Mon, Jul 17 2017

What does it mean to be a published writer?

While Samuel Clemens left us with a wealth of literature, his brother Orion Clemens' autobiographical writings were written in relative obscurity. He tried to mail them out and then they were lost (and probably found) in Grand Central Station in New York. It could be said that he was unpublished, but if someone found the writings now Orion would probably become a celebrated American author, if for no other reason than that his work took on a story of its own as he attempted to get it into a willing publisher's hands with the assistance of his brother. Barbara Schmidt fills in a lot of the story in this article. Reading it may make you feel better when someone asks whether you are a real, published author, since that designation is rarely as simple as it sounds. And there's always the fun of answering a complicated question with yet another convoluted story and letting the questioners figure out for themselves whether they are clever enough to understand your answer.

posted at: 15:21 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Jun 14 2017

Call it this or that or any old thing.

Does anyone else jot down possible titles when not actually writing prose?
I find them to be useful story-starting phrases.

The Pedantic Carver
Loose Shoes
Welcome to Springfield
Mud in My Pocket
The Rail Splitter's Son
Old Habits and New Faces
Casting Aspersions
Treasure on Bronze Mountain
Chimneys of Hope

These are random. If they happen to match anyone's stories, it's coincidence.

posted at: 16:31 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Jun 06 2017

Cake Paragraphs

Paragraphs in prose have some parallels to writing down a cake recipe. You need to provide full information to the reader, including specifics to define your scene and characters, adding adjectives when it's helpful, grudgingly including a rare dash of adverbs when absolutely necessary and saving any frosting or sprinkles for a bit of balance and color to define your voice. Use as many words as you need to use, but use them with purpose and precision. Put aside the notions of a soup-from-leftovers, with everything possible grabbed up and tossed into the mix and not a thought for the final product. Concentrate instead on making every word of a paragraph an ingredient that results in the reader taking one exquisite bite after another.

posted at: 13:55 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, May 16 2017


We all have giants who rose out of the crowds of our past and carried us on their shoulders toward the goal of being the people we're meant to be. Whether they knew it or not, they made our work better and so their influence lives on in the things we do.

One of my giants recently passed away. Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest." Thankfully, that doesn't mean influence ends with death. You may be living a life right now that is watched by someone who thinks of you as a giant helping to boost them to great things.

posted at: 16:03 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, May 02 2017

If you think your writing makes a difference, you're right.

A lot of my original ideas for blog entries become completely changed so that they no longer resemble the beginning thought. Their point (or theme) is often cocooned inside layers of time-stamped language. This whole fact sometimes bothers me. A blog entry doesn't become a novel to be fleshed out and honed into a story. Each entry is a moment, something to be tossed up in the air and let go like a cottonwood seed, carried on currents of air across the internet, unlikely to take hold and grow in any one particular place. I want theses entries to mean something, something important. But they probably don't. Still, it sems important to write them and send them on, even though I might never know of any difference they made in the universe. It's not so much the result that matters as the process itself.

posted at: 16:11 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Apr 17 2017

Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you (unless you're writing a tall tale)

Most of us try to keep our days simple most of the time, unless we're addicted to dysfunctional living. But writers have to be constantly on the lookout for trouble. The romantic picnic under a lofty oak tree has to be interrupted by a hailstorm, an invasion of ants or a pesky little brother with a pea shooter. A warm gathering at the Kentucky Derby needs a horse doping or a hat-slapping quarrel between sisters to keep a reader interested in turning the page.
For best results, we should always be applying Murphy's Law and repeating as often as necessary, even a little more when possible.

posted at: 13:26 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Mar 14 2017

Nix the glour with baling powder and asalt

The recipe typing continues. There are crazy typos that come with typing recipe-related terms. To keep from being tired of working on the recipes, I often note the funnier terms that end up in the files.
Garlix, perhaps an antiquated plural for garlic?
Beta butter, which could be bypassing alpha butter in favor of beta butter?
Chopped muts, which probably means short mutts?

posted at: 12:48 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!