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, August 26, 2019

One of my favorite series

I have been a fan of Lawrence Block's writing for a long time, going back, I think, to the early or mid 80s. He rarely disappoints in terms of quality.

My favorite of his work is probably his Matt Scudder series. If you saw the rather disappointing movie with Liam Neeson, you may not think much of the character. If you haven't read the books and stories, do so.

There are 17 novels and some short stories and novellas in the series. They chronical the life and cases of Matthew 'Matt' Scudder, a former New York City police officer. He resigned from the force after a child, an innocent bystander, was killed during a shooting he was involved in. He left his wife and children, moved out of his home in the suburbs, and started living in a hotel in Manhattan, and drinking heavily in his favorite local watering hole. He supports himself by doing jobs for people, alhtough he calls them favors, and getting money upfront in return.

Unlike, say, Robert B. Parker's Spenser, Scudder grows and changes over the course of the stories, coming to terms with his drinking, dealing with a criminal from his past, and marrying one of the supporting characters.

That is the thing I like most about the series, the way Scudder grows and develops and has a story arc over the course of the entire series. I can see using something like that as a guide for my own writing. In fact, I have plans for a three-bpook mini character arc for my main character, Charlie Rowe, possibly inspired by one of my favorite private detective characters.

12:23 pm cdt          Comments

Old Wounds

I have finally started the new version of my novel Old Wounds. I found a story I like, and I have a synopsis. I also have about 15,000 words from previous work on this novel that I can keep. This is good, since my goal is a minimum of 50,000 words, and I have nearly a third down already.

Of course, I can't get too complacent. I have a lot of work to do to turn my bundle of notes into a cohesive novel, but at least I have something underway again at long last. And, since I prefer to plot rather than just write, I have some idea whare I am going with it.

Maybe I can finally get this thing done. It's been too long since I wrote more than a short story

As for the Charlie Rowe short story I mentioned in Ap;ril, that isn't dead, but it does require some work. I think I need to rewrite it, but I am not sure what to change. I think it needs expansion, as the central conflict is too easily resolved. I may seek out some beta-readers who can tell me where the flaw, if there is one, lies.

12:07 pm cdt          Comments

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


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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