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FOUR KNIGHTS PRESS
Dan Baldwin - Novels, Short Stories & Non-Fiction

 

Writing Tip of the Week

Fear, Son of Fear, and Fear Meets the Three Stoges

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The character Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street uttered one of moviedom’s most famous lines. “Greed is good.”

I’d like to twist that technique and apply the phrase to something all writers face all the time. “Fear is good.”

Fear of starting the next novel, short story, non-fiction book, report, e-mail or angry letter to that old SOB down at city hall is natural. And it’s a good sign for the writer.

If you’re afraid it’s because you’re challenged.

Challenge is good. It means you have an opportunity to stretch as a writer. It’s a chance to grow, improve your skills, and earn a well-deserved sense of achievement.

Look at it this way: if you don’t feel challenged, if you don’t feel that uncomfortable cold spot in the pit of your stomach it’s because you’re comfortable with the writing ahead. The reason you’re comfortable is that you’ve done it before. Where’s the challenge in that? Where’s the opportunity for growth? Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt. Got the mug. Why repeat the process?

I’m not saying that you should feel fear every time you write, but when that cold spot in the old gut does show up - embrace it. That feeling marks the next step and the next improvement in your writing career.

In Up the Organization Robert Townsend reminds us that, “Growth is a by-product of the pursuit of excellence and not itself a worthy goal.” That twinge of fear you feel at the beginning of a new writing project is a sign post: Excellence Ahead.

Pursue.

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Quote of the Week: “A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice.” Edgar Watson Howe

Recommended Reading: A Farewell to Justice by Joan Mellen

Recommended Links:

www.ssa_az.org

www.ssa-vs.org

www.harveystanbrough.com

www.lwsliteraryservices.com

https://beelieveparanormal.wordpress.com/about

Shameless Self Promotion

 

Available for pre-orders in e-book and paperback. Release date: May 8, 2018

Speaking with Spirits of the Old Southwest – Conversations with Miners, Outlaws and Pioneers Who Still Roam Ghost Towns

LEWELLYN

http://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738756745

AMAZON

https://www.amazon.com/Speaking-Spirits-Old-Southwest-Conversations-ebook/dp/B075W1TJN4/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508072270&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=speaking+with+the+spirits+of+the+old+southwest

 

Check out more of my books at:

https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Baldwin/e/B0080Z24CO

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/666742

 

A Four Knights Press Production

© Dan Baldwin 2017

This blogette may be shared provided there is no charge associated and that the source is credited.

 

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Writing Tip of the Week

Avoid the Preamble Ramble Gamble

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   Every writing project has a beginning a middle and an end. Each element is important, but if the writer doesn’t get the beginning right the other two never get read regardless of their quality or significance. The author never gets to sell the next book, short story, news report, ad or recommendation at the end of the e-mail up to corporate. This is especially true for writers who want to continue writing. As Mickey Spillane wrote, “The first chapter sells the book. And the last chapter sells the next book.”

   Regardless of what they’re writing, writers always face the same challenge with the beginning of each work and that challenge is the desire to get it down on paper (screen) right away and desire to get it right. Each is important and the goals are not mutually exclusive.

   Finding the beginning of a non-fiction book, such as one of my ghostwriting or paranormal works, is generally easy. The events portrayed follow an established order. Novels and short stories are different – nothing is established except the need to fill the air pockets inside my head. Selection of a beginning is strictly up to me, the writer.

   One of the biggest mistakes fiction writers make is to begin the work before the real beginning of the story. There’s a natural desire to set up the action that will follow, to provide a lot of background material. For example, the initial novel of my Caldera series of Westerns begins with a young mountain man stumbling onto a fortune in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. The first draft began with the man struggling through a harsh winter north of Taos, New Mexico. At some point I realized that the real beginning of the novel was the moment he headed into the Superstitions. I cut out the first couple of chapters detailing his moves south and guess what? The novel doesn’t slowly slide into the plot; it jumps right into the action. And the reader jumps with it.

   Before you write that first word, pause and ask yourself it it’s the true beginning or merely preamble.

   My preference for writing is to bang out the entire first draft before beginning any *revisions. Provided I’m confident that my beginning the beginning is right to begin with I begin moving on to begin the rest of the work. For me that satisfies each desire I get it down and I’m confident enough of my skill that I believe I also got it right. Others may prefer to perfect their beginning word-by-word before moving on. And that’s okay. The thing to remember neither approach is automatically better than the other. How you best handle the getting it down vs. getting it right conflict is to find which approach works for you.

   Once you know that, you know how to begin and with a little thought, you’ll know where to begin.

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*True Confessions – I don’t do a lot of rewriting. I fix, touch up, and cycle back to fill in plot holes, but I don’t sweat blood over-polishing the work. I’d rather invest that time in writing that next book Mr. Spillane mentioned.

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Quote of the Week: “It is only when proofs are lacking that people try to impose their opinions.” Andre Gide

Recommended Reading: The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri

Recommended Links:

www.ssa_az.org

www.ssa-vs.org

www.harveystanbrough.com

www.lwsliteraryservices.com

https://beelieveparanormal.wordpress.com/about

Shameless Self Promotion

 

Available for pre-orders in e-book and paperback. Release date: May 8, 2018

Speaking with Spirits of the Old Southwest – Conversations with Miners, Outlaws and Pioneers Who Still Roam Ghost Towns

LEWELLYN

http://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738756745

AMAZON

https://www.amazon.com/Speaking-Spirits-Old-Southwest-Conversations-ebook/dp/B075W1TJN4/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508072270&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=speaking+with+the+spirits+of+the+old+southwest

https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Baldwin/e/B0080Z24CO

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/666742

 

A Four Knights Press Production

© Dan Baldwin 2017

This blogette may be shared provided there is no charge associated and that the source is credited.

 

 

Effective Communications Tip of the Week

A Comment on Puff Pieces

 

Writers who product public relations materials for clients often face the challenge of drafting a news article or feature that has at least a snowball’s chance in hell of passing through the electronic Hades of a news editor’s desk. The editor’s desk/computer is loaded with articles and each one (to him) is of equal news value. Puff Pieces are among the first to make it to the round file or to experience the delete key. Positive Aspect stories at least have a fighting chance of making it in print or on screen.

 

A positive aspect article differs from a puff piece primarily in that the PA is written strictly according to standard journalistic style. It promotes only the positive side of the person or organization; it is a legitimate news story told in the traditional manner.

 

A puff piece jumps from straightforward reporting right into unabashed praise. The writers generally don’t follow an accepted stylebook. They often use first names throughout the piece. Unnecessary and inappropriate adverbs and adjectives are often tossed out like Mardi Gras throws from a parade float.

 

For example, a puff piece might read:

 

"Bob is a terrific boss and we can go in to see him with a problem any time. We think that's really cool."

 

A writer who wants the piece to have a lifespan beyond the editor’s, “Bah Humbug!” will follow appropriate style.

 

"Smith maintains a good rapport with his staff by managing the office with an open door policy."

 

Notice that the puff piece and the positive aspect piece say the same thing. The difference is that the latter will possibly see life in print. The first version will be terminated with extreme prejudice.

 

The difference is mostly a matter of style, although sometimes the puff piece will slip into

outright falsehoods. "Bob supports women's rights in the office place" is pretty hard to believe when everyone in the community knows he refers to his universally buxom female staff as "My little groupies."

 

The biggest problem with a puff piece is that it is so obvious. The editor knows his publication will suffer from a loss of credibility. The writer knows this, too. Sadly, Bob (the swell boss) often doesn’t. Unless his craving for puffery is held in check, ultimately he is the one whose puffed up bubble bursts the loudest.

 

Quote of the Week: “The devil’s boots don’t creak.” Scottish Proverb

Recommended Reading: The Chicago Manual of Style

Recommended Links:

www.ssa_az.org

www.ssa-vs.org

www.harveystanbrough.com

www.lwsliteraryservices.com

https://beelieveparanormal.wordpress.com/about

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  True stories of a unique approach to speaking with those who have crossed over - and many who have come back.
 
  Pre-Order Now for May, 2018 Release -

 http://llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738756745

 

  

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The Levine Project - A True Story of personal domestic terror in Tucson and a couple's struggle to survive intimidation, property destruction, and eventually attempted murder and their fight for justice in state and federal court.

Now available in hardback, paperback and ebook

http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=765191#.

Also available from all major distributors online.

 

 

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  FINALIST - BEST BOOK AWARDS 2017 and NEW MEXICO-ARIZONA BOOK AWARDS 2017

 

Why Would the Officers and Board of Directors Violate Their 501c3 Non-Profit Corporation Bylaws To Remove Board Members And What the Hell Does That Have to Do With Writing A Book on Psychic Detecting?

Interesting reading with 70 pages of documentation (fascinating reading themselves). If you are a writer considering coauthoring a book, Do As I Say Not As I Did. Available in ebook and paperback. 

https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Baldwin/e/B0080Z24CO

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/666742

  

 

 

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     FINALIST - NEW MEXICO-ARIZONA BOOK AWARDS COMPETITION 2017

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  WINNER - NEW MEXICO-ARIZONA BOOK AWARDS COMPETITION

 

There is an adage, write about what you know, that guides successful authors. Dan Baldwin knows much about locating people, or their remains, in places not thought, in terrain unknown, and with clues provided by a group of volunteers who pool their psychic talents… Baldwin explains how psychic talents work and how they don't. A lot of misconceptions about "psychics" are dismissed with the hard-nosed reality of what such information is and is not. The cases are often sad, by reader's definition - long lost remains are finally located - but satisfying a family's closure to a missing loved one. In these accounts you follow the author from the invitation to the investigation, to assembling the team, to the information presented, and the actions based on the information.

George Sewell

Available in e-book and paperback: http://www.amazon.com/They-Are-Not-Yet-Lost/dp/1519638493/

 

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WINNER - BEST BOOK AWARDS 2017

 

"I read the first couple of paragraphs on Amazon. It chills on the first page. Your Canyon books are a "hard" read for me. But they are brilliant, edgy, new grit Westerns for sure. Such strong material will find a fan club soon. Skilled writing, so well done!"

AnnElise Makin, Author/Journalist

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018YON488

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/598224

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