Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)

Tue, Apr 10 2018

Sounds writers notice

Places where people tend to raise or lower their voices, especially when certain people do the opposite of what you'd expect them to do in those places.

The cacophony of pops, whistles, clicks and animal paces that move through forests where most people would go because they think it's going to be quiet.

The difference between a dog barking because someone rang the doorbell vs. a dog barking because it's lonely and wants attention.

The difference between wind blowing through an evergreen tree and a deciduous tree.

The difference between urban and rural traffic.

A stifled sneeze compared to a sneeze that releases a lot of energy.

Conversations at a counter in a diner full of locals.

Laughter on a playground.

(You'll think of many more as you read these.)

posted at: 14:02 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Apr 09 2018

Bap! Your rabbit really needs this new hairspray. Zap! Ouch!

I did some research online earlier today and I landed on a page that tried to render an article onscreen, interrupting itself several times to display ads, almost all of which required me to either click on the ad or click a tiny X in the upper right corner of the ad in order to continue reading the article. Six interruptions later, I finally closed that window and moved on. It wasn't click bait. It was just badly designed and annoying. I sat and thought about it, wondering how the person who designed the page could not have known that most people lose interest in a web page after a few seconds if they don't get any of the real content they're seeking.

Do we do this with our fiction writing at times? An opening scene in a novel might include a little dialogue and some action. It probably includes some description in order to get our reader to picture the context and setting of the dialogue and action they're reading. But if we interrupt an argument or a chase scene in our fiction every other paragraph to insert six paragraphs of description, our reader might completely forget what the argument or chase was about in the first place.

Someimes it's a stealthy move to slow down a scene with a little description or a flicker of flashback. But if we overuse that technique we can leave the reader with the feeling of having been tied and dragged behind a truck for three-quarters of a mile while someone off to the side is quietly giving them the 50-year history of the company that built the rope.

posted at: 13:07 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Apr 06 2018

In the mood

Are your characters moody? What triggers their moods? What snaps them out of their darkest moods?

Most of the best writers seem to be moody, so I always wonder what triggers those moods and how those moods play into the way they portray their own characters in fiction. Does your current mood affect the scene you're writing? And how do you make certain that your own mood doesn't interrupt the basic flow of a longer piece of writing? Should we write with one mood and edit with another?

posted at: 09:27 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Thu, Mar 29 2018

The unfinished, unvarnished, unloved writing of today, tomorrow

Some writers throw away their pages of writing when they aren't happy with them. I think maybe this Action Comics tale is a good reason not to do that. People may find your unfinished or despised writing/art and pass it along to a hungry public decades later. Your time may have ended here, but your characters might live on for another whole lifetime.

posted at: 15:16 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Mar 28 2018

Please don't tease, mock, beg, annoy, or poke with a pencil

One of the best things about doing a blog is the way you can choose what to publish. You create, you execute, you publish. But I've found that having an archive of blog entries can come with issues. I get emails from people who want to update a link or information I wrote 8 years ago. The blog entry is mine and it was for its time. It's not always meant for the current time. That's why it's archived.

Another issue that comes up is people wanting some link removed from an entry I did years ago, either because it's no longer relevant to them or they don't want their company mentioned as old news. I remove the link for them, but it ruins the look of the entry and I usually mention that they asked to have it removed. I don't like changing the look. That's why it was simply archived as it was in the first place.

A third issue arises when some other writer wants to get their name out there and they offer to write a new entry for me, which they usually call an article, with their more recent (or comprehensive) creation. No, thank you. The entries here are my own. They come from my mind, however good or bad that may be. If you want to make a name for yourself as a writer, you're wasting your time and mine if you submit material here in the hope of being published on this blog.

Please don't offer to rewrite, update, improve or correct this entry. If you still think you should, read the preceding three paragraphs. Thank you.

posted at: 09:39 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Mar 20 2018

Was Your Honeymoon Horrible?

If you got stuck in an elevator or got lost in the Wilderness, you might consider entering the (oops! This former link to Thrifty has been requested to be removed. This entry has been updated as of 3-20-18). If you win,they have some nice prizes to give you a second chance at bliss.

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

Mon, Mar 19 2018

Loud, proud, under a cloud?

Why is there always one property in a neighborhood that seems to be in a constant state of chaos? There might be lots of shouting or the sound of thrown objects, hoarded piles that spill out onto the front walkway, dogs left outside who bark for hours because they're neglected and lonely, rowdy parties past midnight, or numerous vehicles that take up every available parking space on a street and then go on to fill the front lawn (if they bother with a lawn). It isn't always the worst-looking house. I knew of one family who kept their travel trailers, off-terrain vehicles, water craft and other perceived symbols of rising financial status parked all over the property and on every other parking place on a cul de sac in an otherwise tidy community.

Technically, this has nothing to do with the writing life, except for the part where one can't think above the sound of revved engines or swearing matches. But all things are potential tools to a determined writer. What if one of my characters grew up in a place like that? What if he or she had grown up in a quiet family and then was thrust into a chaotic household with violence? What if the really nice house on a street had a neatly trimmed lawn, but the inhabitants were quietly, systematically murdering local citizens? There are a million ways to go with this in a story, if not in actual life.

posted at: 11:38 | 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!