Hack Writing 201: Dynamite Openings

Reading fiction manuscripts from a slush pile has gotten me thinking about opening lines. A dynamite opening is what separates the royalty checks from the rejection slips. Hemingway knew this. Fitzgerald knew this. All the greats knew this. Now, I’m revealing this insider’s secret to you. Simply stated, you want a few lines, right off the top, that will grab the reader and not let go. For example, here are the opening lines of an (unpublished) novel a friend worked on for years: Continue reading Hack Writing 201: Dynamite Openings

How to Overcome Writer’s Block: Advice from a Write-aholic

I’m a write-aholic. I get writer’s block about as often as an alcoholic has a day where he just can’t force himself to drink. It doesn’t happen too often. So, maybe I’m not the best one to give advice on how to overcome writer’s block. Then again, maybe I am…

If I take my car in for an oil change and I have to sit around for half an hour in a Honda dealership waiting room, where the accommodations include weak coffee and back issues of People magazine, I write. I always carry a pen and notepad. I’m always writing something in my head, even when driving, walking, eating. I get it down on paper as soon as I’m able. I pull over to the side of the road if necessary. If I take myself out to breakfast, someplace where the coffee’s good and the refills keep coming, I write. As I write these words you’re reading now, I’m sitting under a tree in Red Rock Canyon while my dogs are frolicking in the creek. I get quite a bit of writing done on my daily dog walks.
Continue reading How to Overcome Writer’s Block: Advice from a Write-aholic

Hack Writing 101: The Lost Meat Spear Manuscript

My Brief Career Writing Porn Novels for Greenleaf Classics

It’s a dirty story
of a dirty man
and his clinging wife
doesn’t understand

—  “Paperback Writer,” 1966 (Lennon-McCartney)

I started my writing career in the early 70s, writing primarily fiction—pseudonymous and anonymous two-cents-a-word stuff. Mostly, I wrote porn novels, but also short stories for the women’s romance/confession mags—“My Husband Ran Off with the Babysitter”—that sort of stuff, and occasionally short stories for the cheapo men’s mags. Continue reading Hack Writing 101: The Lost Meat Spear Manuscript

Dick-lit Tracy – Here Goes Nuthin’

I was sitting in my office late one night, staring at the pile of bills stacked up on my desk, wondering if I’d ever see another payday.

In walked a tall blonde in a short skirt.

“Mr. Snyder?” she said. “I need help.” Her lipstick was red. Her eyes were blue. Her voice was like maple syrup dripping down the side of a stack of flapjacks.

“It’s my husband,” she said. “I think he’s a vampire.”

A vampire? I can do vampires. I’m a write-aholic. I can write anything—for money. Continue reading Dick-lit Tracy – Here Goes Nuthin’