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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Monday, December 11, 2017

The Value of Research

One of the true wonders of the modern age, for a writer, is a computer with a working internet connection and the ability to access

Researching any topic is so easy these days that I have to wonder how writers managed it before the internet and, especially, Google.

As an example, over the weekend I wrote a scene in The Pursuit of Kelly Clark, where my barefoot heroine, Kelly, needs to find a pair of shoes in Minneapolis at 3:00 in the morning. No shoe stores are open, there aren't that many people about, and it would seem that no one would leave a pair of shoes where Kelly can find them.

Howver, research showed me how to make this scene work. A quick Google search led me to the wikipedia article on abandoned shoes, and this article mentioned shoe trees, which are trees that people throw their shoes into for whatever reason.

A refinement of my search revealed that one of these shoe trees exists on the grounds of the University of Minnesota's West Bank Campus, near the Washington Avenue Bridge. People have been throwing their shoes on the tree for years. Sometimes they miss and their shoes land on the ground. Google maps even gave me a street-level view of the shoe tree in question.

Problem solved. Kelly, a former U. of M. student, although briefly, would know of this shoe tree and would know that she can find shoes there in the middle of the night.

That's just a quick description of the value of online research, which any writer can do on the fly as he writes.

4:36 pm cst          Comments

Big Changes

These past several years, I have struggled with the writing of Old Wounds. I have written and rewritten it, I have changed my mind about whether it wanted to be a novel or a novella, and I have spent many hours agonizing over what I am to do with this project. Despite all this work, I have never really been satisfied with it.

Then, a couple of weekends ago, I realized how to make the project work. I just needed to make a simple change: instead of trying to tie several plot threads together as part of the same story, I need to let them be seperate.

Of course, I am not out of the woods yet. I will end up with three different villians, and I will have to hope I am a good enough writer to pull it off. I also have to tear my existing story apart, saving what I can, and replot it. I will need a new outline,a nd I will essentially start again.

And all this is on the back burner for now. I have been working on Old Wounds for a long time, and I need a break from it. Plus, I have another project, The Pursuit of Kelly Clark, underway at the moment, and I am making some good progress on that, so I obviously want to continue working on that story. I also have a science fiction short story I'd like to write before I tackle Old Wounds again.

But, at least I know what to do about Old Wounds when the time comes to start working on it again.

4:26 pm cst          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 and taylor_made_banner.jpg