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  • Pat Bertram 8:47 pm on February 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craft of fiction, Raymond Chandler, writing   

    Everything a writer learns about the art or craft of fiction takes just a little away from his need or desire to write at all. In the end he knows all of the tricks and has nothing to say.

    Raymond Chandler
  • Pat Bertram 9:36 pm on November 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: leaves, words, writing   

    The other morning I was staring out the window at all the leaves on the ground, marveling at how so much come from almost nothing. A bit of water, a bit of soil, a bit of sun, and something exists where nothing did before. I cherish those leaves. There’s no lawn here, just native grasses, so I don’t need to rake the leaves. I let them finish out their natural cycle of replenishing the soil from which they came.

    Looking at those leaves, I was reminded of written words, and how they come from almost nothing. A circle, a few lines, a couple of dots, various arcs, and something exists where nothing did before. We never run out of words. We use the same words over and over again, combining them infinitely into ideas, stories, lullabies.

    Recycling the very same words you use every day, I wrote four novels (plus that one poor begotten thing that’s locked away never to see the light of publication), hundreds of bloggeries, and thousands of comments. I hope my words live out their natural cycle, replenishing the mental soil from which they come.

    Okay, I’m getting a bit over the top here, so I’ll get to the point. Some of those words are now residing on other people’s blogs all over the Internet from Canada to Florida, from Australia to South Africa. Today I’m in the U.S.A. Please stop by to visit me at one or all of these locations. I’ll be glad to rake up a few words of greeting for you.

    Murder by 4 — Suspense: More is More

    Bookworm — Names Matter

    Dragon My Feet — Interview

    Also, I am pleased to welcome Aaron Lazar to my blog. Please stop by and mumble, groan, hiss, grunt, expostulate or simply say hi. — Dialogue Tags.

    Click here to find: Bertram’s novels on Amazon

    Click here to find: Bertram’s novels at Second Wind Publishing

    My novels are available in all ebook formats at Smashwords. Also, 30% of each novel is available as a free download. Click here to find: Bertram’s novels on Smashwords.

  • Pat Bertram 8:47 pm on September 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: backstory, blogtalkradio, , writing   

    I’m going to be interviewed on blogtalkradio tomorrow at 11:30am ET. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Back-Story/2009/09/05/Back-Story-The-Behind-the-Scenes-Look-at-Writing-a-Novel The call-in number is (718) 766-4155

  • Pat Bertram 7:21 pm on September 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: right brain/left brain, writing   

    I’ve been doing so much research about promotion and spending so much time on the internet checking out sites and making thousands of dubious (and a few wonderful) connections, that I’m starting to feel a bit out of focus.

    I did an online right/left brain test, and according to them I’m 68% left, 32% right. A little later I did another test, and according to them I’m 57% left, 42% right, which adds up to only 99%. So apparently one reason I feel out of focus is that I’ve lost a bit of my mind. Before I lose it all, I need to finish my WIP and at least start on my graphic novel. I made a pact with myself to shut down my computer at 10:00 and write at least an hour tonight, but that leaves me minus one minute to finish this discussion post and send out the email reminder.

    Still, I will write. If I remember how. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Pat Bertram 1:01 pm on May 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Vietnam, writing   

    Our darlings are all those bits that we hate to part with. We think they add to the story, but in reality all they do is slow it down. In my novel, More Deaths Than One, I had my hero Bob going to a Vietnam Vet support group and listening in, but I had to kill the discussion because it served no purpose. So here, for you, I am unkilling it:

    Marvin’s voice rose in anger. “My kid came home from school the other day and told me we lost in Vietnam because the American military did not know jungle warfare.”

    “Horseshit,” Frank said. “We didn’t lose. We left.”

    “After winning every major battle,” Dolph added. “But, like Korea, it was not a war. We were only supposed to be there, a presence, until the people who make those kinds of decisions got what they wanted.”

    Gaston leaned forward. “Even if you Yanks didn’t know jungle warfare, we Australians did. We’re tough and well trained, and are some of the best jungle fighters in the world. Everyone seems to have forgotten we were in Vietnam, too. So were thirty thousand Canadians, though I’m not sure how much they knew about jungle warfare.”

    “But the South Koreans did,” Dolph said. “Man, those guys were really good at hand-to-hand combat. I’m glad they were on our side. So were the Chinese mercenaries, the Nungs, and they definitely knew jungle warfare. There were also some French soldiers who remained after France pulled out of the country.”

    “That’s beside the point. We Americans”—Frank pounded the air using his fist as a hammer—“know jungle warfare. What the hell do they think we were doing in World War Two? Much of that action took place in jungles—Burma, the Philippines, the South Pacific, to name a few. And the OSS was already in Vietnam back then, helping the Viet Minh fight the Japanese. While the OSS was teaching the Viet Minh modern warfare, the Viet Minh were teaching the OSS their way of fighting. So anyone who says we lost because we didn’t know jungle warfare is full of shit.”

    Marvin made balloons of his cheeks, then blew out the air. “I tried telling my kid that, but he wouldn’t believe me. I hate to think what other crap they’re teaching him.”

    • Sheila Deeth 12:34 pm on May 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Neat piece. Do you keep the bits you cut to reuse somewhere else, or do they just become part of the world that you know and readers just view through the window of the book?

      • Pat Bertram 12:45 pm on May 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Sheila, I have whole chapters I have taken out of books, chapters that I like, but that introduce characters who were removed from the story. A couple of them would work as the beginning of a new novel if I ever decide to go that way. I have bits of research that were taken out because they ruined the flow of the story. Those I will eventually post somewhere. Odd, as careful as I am to only include that which is important to the story, and as slowly as I write, I still ended up with scads of words, paragraphs, scenes on my “cutting room floor.”

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