Dennis Coslett

I am a writer and novelist. Welcome to my blog and website. Here, you can learn what is going on in my life and in my writing career.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Latest submissions

In the last month, I have submitted a short story to Mysterical magazine, and a fantasy story to Fantasy & Science Fiction. While I seem to be in a period where I am getting little done, I have yet managed to complete and submit two short stories.

On top of that, I have two more in the works.

My plan is to finish the next draft of a Charlie Rowe short story, Love or Money. Then I will take a look at the final story I have on tap, which may end up on Wattpad. After that, I will work on the latest version of my next Charlie Rowe novel, Old Wounds. (The name is the only thing about this novel that hasn't changed over the years, but I think I am closing in on a definitive version.

So, I do have a lot going on. As is generally the case, I just need to park my butt in my chair and do some work.

7:35 pm cdt          Comments

Sunday, January 13, 2019

What's the Fuss about Strong Women?

There's been much talk lately about strong female characters, in the wake of controversial changes to Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. I am a little nervous about stepping into these waters, but I will do so. Here are a few thoughts on the topic of strong female characters.

Nothing is wrong with female characters in and of themselves. In fact, strong female characters are good for fiction. This is why there have been many strong women in fiction, going back years. Frankly, if the main character in your story is a woman, she should be a strong character.

What is the definition of a strong female character? I think it is simply a woman who takes responsibility for her own life, without needing to rely on anyone else. For example: A strong female character who has been kidnapped by the bad guys doesn't passively wait to be rescued, she gets herself free and either escapes, clobbers her abductors, or clobbers her abductors and escapes.

This would make her an interesting heroine, a flawed but enjoyable character you want to read about and root for.

A strong character isn't strong because they tear others down. They may build up the characters around them, much as Wonder Woman did in the recent movie, but they aren't strong at the expense of another character

They definitely aren't Mary Sues (yes, I'm looking at you, Rae from Star Wars.)

And making a character strong doesn't mean you can forget about telling a good story. That is the real problem, I think, with the controversy over the recent changes to Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. The so-called "Social Justice Warriors" have got hold of these franchises and have inserted their messages at the expense of good storytelliing, in the process ruining storied franchise that have brought joy to millions, but now bring anguish.

So, my advice for anyone who wants to create a strong female character for his or her story is this: decide what makes your character strong. Remember that she isn't strong because she is tearing someone else down. She can still have flaws, otherwise she will be a Mary Sue. And, finally, as the saying goes, leave the message to Western Union.

2:22 pm cst          Comments

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Writer's Block

I think it's happened. For  the first time in my writing career, I think I can say I am suffering from writer's block.

It's mostly the result of stress and uncertainty. My main symptom is a total lack of interest in actually writing anything. I have some short stories that need more work -- I want to do at least one more draft of each -- but I don't seem to want to work on them.

Partly because I think there may be something missing in them. A feeling of insecurity may have contributed to my inability to write much.

I'm not writing for fun, or online, or just to see where a scene might go. When I sit down to write, I put down a sentence or two, then fiddle around on Youtube or Google, then maybe write a few more words. Sometimes, if I really push myself, I might get 50 words down.

Then, a week later,  I do it all over again.

What am I doing about it?

I am trying something new.  This means fantasy and fan fiction at the moment, and possibly other ideas if I can come up with something.

Maye I'll work on some old ideas.

And I'm going to get active in a writing group I joined on Meetup. Their next meeting is tomorrow, and I will be there.

I'm also thinking about finding someone, perhaps in this writing group, or on Facebook or Wattpad, to beta-read my stories and tell me if anything is missing.

And there are other ideas I can try if none of those work.

If all goes well, perhaps I can make something happen soon. It's very worrisome when you can't sesm to write anything.

9:29 pm cdt          Comments

Saturday, June 30, 2018

He saw, he heard, he felt, he thought

Over the years, my approach to writing has changed in some ways. For example, I frequently go back to things I wrote years ago, and I find ways to cut out excess words.

One of the ways I cut out words lately is to eliminate as many uses of the words saw, heard, felt and thought as possible. I think leaving out those words is a great way to make your writing more direct, leaner, and more concise. You can leave these words out because the reader will provide them for you. He will assume that your character is seeing, feeling, hearing and thinking what goes on in the story.

For example, you could write, he heard a car engine start nearby. Or you could simply say, a car engine started nearby

In a similar vein, you could write, He felt a cold breeze cut through his clothes. Or you can write, A cold breeze cut through his clothes.

My favorite example is, thought. Don't write, it's a trap, he thought. Instead write, it's a trap. You do not need to risk taking the reader out of your story by reporting that your character thought something. Instead, record his thoughts and assume your reader will know what you are doing.

In each example, the second approach is more direct and doesn't break up the flow of the story. You want to do anything that will keep your reader in your story. Keeping things flowing as much as possible by eliminating unnecessary words such as saw, heard, felt, and thought will help.

12:38 pm cdt          Comments

Wattpad

I now have a presence on Wattpad, the free fiction site. I am still trying to boost my audience, even more so now that I am becoming convinced that writing and publishing more is my best option in life, and I think I can do so by publishing some things on Wattpad.

Many will be complete offerings, others will be partial. I can also use it as a place to post some things I don't feel right publishing for money, such as my story Those Who Have Not Swords, which I started several years ago, and made some progress on before coming to a stop. I have since used part of it as backstory in one of my Charlie Rowe novels, False Witness. THis being the case, I don't feel that I can ask money for it, but I will offer it for free, in installments, as a sample of my work

Check Wattpad regularly, as I intend to post frequently.

In other news, I now own a condo. I closed last week, and I am now planning and preparing to move in during the month of July. It may taike a while to completely, especially when it comes to the contents of my storage locker, but I am finally going to be able to live on my own again.

In some ways, the prospect is terrifying, in some ways, it is exciting.

12:20 pm cdt          Comments

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About me: I have been writing since the early 1980s, ever since discovering a passion for writing during my senior year in High School. My completed writings include novels, short stories, and newspaper articles. I have completed four novels in that time, and have partially completed two others. I have had little success in finding an agent or a publisher for any of my novels, and have recently taken my efforts online. During the years that I have been writing, I have also served my country as a member of the United States Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps. In the last five years, I have been deployed to Army bases in Iraq, Kansas, and Virginia.

Look for my novel Taylor Made, available from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. taylor_made_banner.jpg