Posts Tagged ‘books’

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There’s an old saying “write what you know” a popular expression among writers. So what happens when you write a story of “what you know” but you don’t have all the factors to conclude the story?

Over four decades ago, when I was a high school student, there were some unconventional incidents that took place in my teens. Years later, I considered writing an autobiography which would have revealed a real and intimate part of my life, but I was missing a key component, the “why did those events take place?” Without answers to that question, an autobiographical account was out of the question. Who’d want to read a book with no conclusion? Those events were real, and they changed not only my life but the lives of others. Yet I didn’t have the details to wrap up the story all tidy and neat.

On a personal note, I had struggled with the “why?” for years. I had kept that part of my life private because I worried to tell my story due to possible retaliation. For years, I wanted to put those memories behind me. I craved and needed closure.

Finally, the solution came to me. Couldn’t I write the “what I know” part and fill in the unknown “why” with fictional content? I wrote the rough draft and everything fell into place. The completed draft was a blend of fact and fiction. It answered every one of the unknown factors which eluded me for years. I had a complete story. And most of all, I found the closure I so desperately desired.

The result was a coming of age story composed in the grey expanse between established facts and pure made up fiction. No loose ends, no unanswered questions, a story wrapped up with a big shiny bow. I entitled it CLIPPED WINGS.

I completed the epic length rough draft in four months. Handwritten with fountain pens and liquid bottled ink in eight cheap college-ruled composition notebooks. An additional three months to transpose the manuscript into digital format along with considerable first round editing. There are several further rounds of self-editing to do. Then, I will release the manuscript to hungry beta readers. At which time, they will rip and shred my manuscript apart with their scathing remarks. From the beta readers comments, I’ll have a plethora of editing options before me. However, I will have the last word as I wrap up the final edit before the manuscript goes to a third-party editor to polish the final manuscript for publishing.

CLIPPED WINGS may be a southern coming of age novel to its readers, but for me, I found closure to a dark part of my earlier life. The question remains, is the book fact or fiction? You and I know the actual answer, the story takes shape in that grey expanse which exists between fact and fiction, yet inspired by actual events.

Read more about CLIPPED WINGS. I invite you to subscribe to the SCUTTLEBUTT, my online newsletter, with monthly updates on CLIPPED WINGS, as well as background facts and behind the scenes news about the book.

Had an amazing afternoon with A Dude Abikes. A budding new author to watch for. Take a look at his blog and make sure you LIKE his posts and don’t forget to Follow A Dude Abikes. He’s an awesome dude.

A Dude Abikes

img_20180326_132441756-1483595608.jpg Dale with his coffee cup, black moustache protector, business card, and writer cap.

Dale Thele is an author.  If there’s one thing I took away from the very generous amount of time we spent together at a coffee shop today, is that to think of oneself as an author (or writer, if you prefer), is important.  No, it does not make you good, or increase your chances of publication.

But, thinking of oneself that way is one key to behaving that way.  Writers write, right?  (Do authors auth?)  Luckily, I took away alot more than that one thing, and as Dale was happy to share them with me, he’s happy for me to share them with all 168 of my followers and any new visitors.

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Math-ProblemOOPSIE!

My word count estimate for the first rough draft of CLIPPED WINGS may have been way off.

I’m not a PLOTTER (a writer who plans out a storyline in detail).

I’m not an OUTLINER (a writer who creates a story outline before beginning to write).

I’m a PANTSER (I don’t plan out anything; I fly by the seat of my pants). I write the opening chapter and the closing chapter, then let the story develop organically between the beginning (point A) and the ending (point B).

Characters (even though they are fictional) have a way of driving the direction of a story as it develops through their actions, feelings, stubbornness, and drama. Every manuscript I’ve written has been character driven, CLIPPED WINGS is no different.

I am currently writing chapter 18. I realize now, my word count estimate was not adequate to fully tell the story. Yes, the manuscript is shaping up to be “epic” in length (between 150,000 – 200,000 words), but don’t worry, CLIPPED WINGS is not characteristically “epic” in any other way.

(I should have paid more attention in Algebra Class)

Additional information can be found at CLIPPED WINGS


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It’s suggested authors and writers are to write about things they know. Some compose memoirs, an account of events from their authentic life, and others create an artificial world out of their imagination. Even an imagined world has elements from an authentic life, no matter how small. So where do authors draw the line of distinction between reality and fiction? The answer would depend if the author is writing fiction or a memoir. A fictional work could take place in a real-world location, however, the characters, if based on real living individuals, the author would change the characteristics of the real-life individuals, so the reader can not identify the characters to the real-life people they are writing about. Authors can be sued for libel, defamation, and/or slander. To get around this obstacle authors use a little trick; a colloquial term, a euphemism to denote distortion of fact called: artistic license, where elements of reality and fiction become blurred in a way which masks the true elements of reality.

I had to decide if I would write my new manuscript as a memoir, or as a work of fiction? The premise of both manuscripts would center on a specific set of circumstances from real-world events. So, could I tell the story better as a memoir or as fiction? If I wrote a memoir, there would be key parts of the real-world story which would not be included in the manuscript, due to possible legal ramifications. However, if I composed a fictional manuscript, retaining key components of the story as possible. Real-world facts within fictional elements (artistic license) would be retained without worry of reprisal or possible legal repercussion. I decided to write a story based on actual real-world events in the form of a fictional novel, tentatively entitled: CLIPPED WINGS.

A tale of a zealous authoritarian high school administrator exploits his position to break Shane Davison’s teen spirit, unaware of the Pandora’s box he has unintentionally opened. The administrator’s unrestrained actions set into motion a chain of events which no one expected, in this early 1970’s narrative, told from Shane’s teenage perspective. Shane takes the reader into his confidence to reveal a nightmare of biased victimization in a small, ultra-conservative, north Oklahoma town. A true, honest-to-goodness southern literary fictional novel, inspired by actual events being written by Dale Thele.

So, how blurred are the lines between reality vs. fiction in CLIPPED WINGS? The manuscript is a current work in progress, but I can assure you, the storyline blurs repeatedly into murky gray areas of artistic license.

Texas Book Festival 2016

Posted: November 5, 2016 in Events
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Saturday morning rain showers didn’t stop Austinites from venturing downtown to the annual Book Festival. High spirits, laughter, umbrellas, wet clothes and puddle splashing made for an unusual but entertaining Book Festival for all ages.

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Saturday, November 5 & Sunday, November 6
10th & Congress Ave, Austin, Texas