Meeting Andy Weir

Jennifer wrote up our story. Good job!

Footle and Grok

You know Andy Weir.

He wrote “The Martian”. Yep, the one that got made into a movie starring Matt Damon. If you haven’t seen it, do so now. It’s a very fun, intelligent space movie. And, read the book, too.

Andy Weir’s next book, “Artemis” is newly released and he’s on a book tour right now. Through a series of remarkable events, I met Andy, a most wonderful happenstance.

I’m involved in finding speakers and teachers for a writing conference. We want to find some great writers so our attendees will get their money’s worth out of the conference.

On Tuesday, I tossed out the idea that we should ask Andy Weir to be our keynote speaker. He’s a great author who gives fun, informative talks. We added him to our list of authors to research.

Later that same day, our president, Pat received notice about an event being put…

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Son of a Pitch


Son of a Pitch is a pitch contest where you post your query letter and the first 250 words of your novel. (Edited to remove bio)

Title: Dog Tags
Genre: Adult Contemporary with a touch of magical realism.
Word Count: 94,000

Here is a draft of the body of a query letter for Dog Tags.

DOG TAGS is a 94,000-word adult contemporary novel with a touch of magical realism.

Wounded veteran Marty Johnson just wants to be left alone. Back from a third tour in Afghanistan, his survivor’s guilt pushes him towards suicide while his PTSD prevents him from seeking help. With no friends or family, he drives the roads of the Pacific Northwest searching for the father he never knew. But a special dog, with a magical tag that displays changing messages, interrupts his journey.  She adopts him and helps him try to reintegrate into everyday society.

When Marty intervenes in a fight to help Suzanne, a veterinary assistant he’d just met, he gets sucked into a small town’s dark side. Framed for heroin possession and unable to continue his travels, Marty is quickly caught up in a battle he doesn’t want, in a town he wishes he could leave. Marty must choose the path to the rest of his life.

If he heeds the guidance of the dog and her magical tag, he stays and could end up in prison or worse. If he flees and heads back out on the road, he will lose his one chance to find family again.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First 250 Words of the MS:

Chapter 1

A dark desert highway. The phrase stuck in Marty’s head and brought back ugly memories. Bad things happened on dark desert highways. Especially on nights like this: no moon, clear, stars glittering like muzzle flashes. He shook his head hard; that was months ago and thousands of miles away. This road should be safe. No IEDs, no RPGs, and no God-damned Hadji.

He’d driven this way before, I-90 through eastern Washington. Not really a desert, more of a semi-arid steppe. It didn’t matter. He focused on the road and reality.

Bleary-eyed and dog-tired, Marty pressed through the tunnel of light provided by his pickup’s halogen beams. The highway’s dashed lines tried to fuse together. Hypnotic. He rolled down the window and let the cool wind blow through his hair. The music player had moved on, Zeppelin’s Black Dog pounded his ears. It helped him stop thinking, but he could only mutter along with the song. He needed to stop soon.

Two tiny glowing green orbs appeared, beyond the reach of his lights. He blinked hard, twice, and flashed his high beams. Still there. He eased off the gas—a hallucination?

The orbs got closer. A shimmering bloom of blue light appeared beneath them.

A dog blocked the middle of the road—staring into his headlights like a deer.

“Oh, shit!” He jammed on the brakes and yanked the wheel hard to the right, avoiding the animal—except he might have felt a bump. The truck careened down a slope, bounced through bushes and over rocks.

Writers Block, Writer’s Block

I posted my frustration to CtW today…

Crackin' The WIP

By P.A.Thompson

Well, here we are again. Two months later. Remember when I announced:

I am excited. I’m at the point where I can actually ‘smell’ the end of the first draft of my WiP


So, block happens. Life happens. Goddammit.

We’ve had three waves of family visitors this summer and that was absolutely wonderful. Except for the part about me writing anything. One highlight of my brother’s visit was that they wanted me to read the rest of my WIP to them. I had read the first 12 chapters on their last visit. The four of them provided comments, critiques, and reactions. Invaluable stuff, really.

Anyway. Besides major league excuses about not writing, why haven’t I done more? I have/had a direction to go, I’ve ‘smelled’ the ending. I love my characters and can’t wait to finish the first draft so that I can go back and rewrite…

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A New Journal. A New Journey.

Crackin' The WIP

Helping me out again with a guest blog…

By Lee Bradbury

“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.” ― Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

I received a new journal the other day as a gift from my husband. It is large and substantial with a black leather cover and clean, crisp lined pages. It feels nice when I hold it. It feels like it could be “something.”

I haven’t written in it yet. The pages remain blank.

That is always where I struggle when I get a new journal. What should I write about first? What initial yet profound thought should I scribble in it to christen the empty pages?

I’ve written in a journal or diary my whole life. I have documented my thoughts, life’s small and not-so-small happenings, and jotted down untidy musings as well as compact reflections of my existence…

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Work in Progress

My post on CtW

Crackin' The WIP

By P.A.Thompson

I’m sure you’ve all noticed I’ve been sort of ‘off and on’ with my posts here. I know I’ve let down my loyal followers and I’m sorry for that.

And now back to the real world.

I am excited. I’m at the point where I can actually ‘smell’ the end of the first draft of my WiP, Dog Tags: The Dog. Or some title similar to that… I guess that’s the working title.

Being a ‘Pantser’, or as us sophisticated pantser types like to call it: “A Developmental Writer”, I’ve been struggling through the middle part of my story. I’ve always had the ending scenes in my head, but these are the scenes that tie up, hopefully, the various pieces of the story. And I’ve had a vague feeling for how the ‘bad guy’ gets taken down, before the wrap up at the finish.

But, my story isn’t…

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The Astonishing Realm of Expressions (also known as The Wonderful World of Words)

Crackin' The WIP

D.M. Gutierrez is on a much needed and long overdue vacation this week. She asked Lee Bradbury to guest blog for her today.

By Lee Bradbury

One of my favorite quotes about writing is attributed to Anton Chekhov. He said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

This won’t be another post about “Show. Don’t tell.” I promise. This is more about the Wonderful World of Words.

When I was a child, I had a small spiral bound notebook that I used to carry with me everywhere. In it I’d scribble down favorite words. I’d hear or read a word that fascinated or enchanted me and I’d jot it into the notebook and then later I’d go home and look up the meaning. It was my way of having the word with me always and never forgetting it.

For example, I…

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“I have a dream”… and it involves PoV.

Today’s post

Crackin' The WIP

By P.A.Thompson

Actually, the tense is incorrect in the title. I had a dream last night that gave me the idea for this post.

But, to go back off topic, the title of this post gives me another idea for another post. I could write about the dreams of all of us unpublished authors. The dream of this and that and other fantasy’s we all live by. Rich and famous, loved and adored, snooty and condescending… or at least published and someone other than friends and family have bought your book.

And now for something completely different, back on topic.

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Don’t you wish you could write like…

Thoughts from today…

Crackin' The WIP

By P.A.Thompson

Here is something I just realized…

A few weeks ago, maybe longer, I had hit a reading roadblock. I’d become really difficult to please in my reading choices, nothing new I picked up was any good. Too many writing ‘rules’ broken to allow me to enjoy the stories. And by ‘rules broken’ I mean bumps in the reading that would toss me out of the story and cause me to analyze the writing. It didn’t always break rules, but caused a problem with my reading flow.

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Character description

Blog post for today, borrowed…

Crackin' The WIP

By P.A.Thompson

I have no original thoughts today, so I’m stealing a post written almost three and a half years ago by my friend Doyle McKim.

Writing tip of the month: Character description.
Posted on November 5, 2011 by lewiscountywriters

You’ve just been hooked into a gripping story line when suddenly it stops and you’re handed a parts list of someone’s face and build. Is that what you want to read at the moment? Do you even want a detailed description or do you want to supply some of your own?

There are things we must know soon, of course. In order of importance: Is your character human, or maybe a rabbit or a lamp post; male or female; Caucasian or otherwise; young or old; fair or dark?

Feed it slowly. A name, will usually tell gender, so will a pronoun. “He poured powder into the muzzle.” What else does…

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Writing – Random Thoughts

Crackin' The WIP

By P.A.Thompson

So, no real topic today. As the title says, Random Thoughts.

Writers seem to be smart people. Nice generalization eh? As with any generalization… blah blah exceptions blah blah. Or it could be the filters I have that don’t let me deal with idiots. Hmm, I don’t seem to have my ‘Politically Correct’ filter on right now. I’ve categorized people as either smart or idiots. What a snob I be.

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