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

Thu, Jan 18 2018

Walking the talk

Someone on Twitter recently talked about taking to the streets when political changes were made that they disliked. I thought about that. Should writers take to the streets when life hands us lemons? Should we put on our walking shoes? Well, we certainly can. It's a form of free speech (as long as we deal with any required permits and as long as we don't block the streets). But should we? Does it change anything in the political or governmental arena? Or are there other things we can do as writers that would be more meaningful? Actions often do speak louder than words. But it depends on what the actions and the words are.

posted at: 08:56 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Dec 29 2017

One for all and all for one

Every good story we tell, whether set 2078 years in the future or 1242 years in the past, needs to be able to pass through the timeless river of human experience,

posted at: 07:56 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Oct 25 2017

Gullibility vs. naivete

A thesaurus will probably tell you that gullibility and naivete are similar. I suppose they are. But I think of gullibility as the thing that people possess when they pass along as truth a meme/photo on social media without checking to see whether it's real. Naivete is different to me. When a reader/viewer/listener suspends belief in order to enjoy the spinning of a good yarn they have naivete. They're both traits that one chooses to possess, but the former speaks more to me of a lazy, biased choice, while the latter ssems to me a temporary opennesss to a new experience. Maybe society shapes the difference in the two words?

posted at: 10:35 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Oct 02 2017

Unseen characters

We recently had a chance to attend a live music performance with friends. It was all wonderful, but one of the songs was a duet in which the male singer was supposed to be apart from his female partner for the first part of the song, coming out into the open only later in the piece. There was brief joking between the conductor and the male singer, and then the singer put a hand on the fabric-wrapped tent pole as if he was hidden behind a tree. We all laughed because he was perfectly visible, but he managed to make the situation work with his voice, acting skills and his body movements as he finally came out from behind the tree that wasn't really there at all. We were with him. We were on his side.

When we tell stories, we sometimes elect to omit certain details about a character until later in a story. Sometimes it works better to keep certain details in the forefront of the reader's mind. At other times, revealing those details in a sudden moment well into a story can enforce sympathy/empathy. It can even give the reader more reason to dislike a character. We might not let the character give us this information, but instead let other characters' dialogue or the action itself spell out the added details.

In the case of our singer, we had to allow him his moment of breaking character in order to give us enough information to understand his placement in the scene and to pull us a bit closer into suspension of disbelief so that we could go on to enjoy the rest of the performance. It's similar to the sort of thing an actor does when they turn abruptly from their placement in a scene and proceed to speak directly to a live audience or a camera (or twirl a mustache to elicit boos, in the case of a villain in a melodrame). It often startles us, but it's also very effective in taking us to new heights in terms of accepting the truths behind the story.

posted at: 15:02 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Sep 25 2017

Thanks for the intro. Now go away.

Has anyone else out there every tried to write a story and then realized you had created a dull major character, so you switched their place of prominence with that of a seemingly less important character? I did this recently and it gave my story new life. It felt as though Friend A had introduced me to Friend B, who was more interesting and in tune with my personality than Friend A would ever be.

posted at: 11:13 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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: 14:21 | 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: 15:31 | 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!