How Do I CAST My Story?

~ By Jeff Salter This post originally appeared here. First of all, let me say that it’s not particularly easy for me to delve into the “how” and “why” of what or who I write. Not that I’m trying to keep big secrets here… more like I just don’t think about the process all that much. Authors come in two basic packages — with some (like me) falling somewhere in between. The plotters are those who diligently outline everything, build background files on the major characters, sketch out the entire plotline (including supplemental plot threads), determine the arcs of...

The Name Game — A Friday Writing Prompt

~ By Jeff Salter Happy Friday! Jeff is back with another writing prompt to get you warmed up for a weekend full of writing. We hope you have fun with this. Thank you, Jeff! — Through a social media promotional campaign, 31 people discover they have the same name —first, last, and middle initial. Several of them hook-up with each other – on a lark – so they can exchange information on who named them, who they were named for, where they are from, when they were born, etc. It’s cool and fun to see how they are so different,...

Sometimes It’s Better to Pretend You Just Didn’t See It

~ By Jeff Salter It seems I have interesting experiences quite often. Take, as an example, this one from March 29th last year — which should have been an ordinary morning visit to my local credit union. Even though most of the staff know me, I still pull out my billfold to show my I.D. (as several little signs instruct us to do). On this occasion, when I flipped my wallet open, there sat a tiny orange thing that resembled a short piece of a rubber band. The teller lady seemed as surprised as I was. She didn’t ask,...

Writing Contests — They Shoot Horses Don’t They?

Why Pay an Anonymous Judge to Smack Me Down? ~ By Jeff Salter I could write a book about contests. So today’s little excerpt will be just a few of my rants and raves. But first a disclaimer: For those talented and fortunate few writers with positively golden entries which win or ‘final’ — contests are fantastic opportunities for exposure to agents, editors, or publishers… and many of those contest results lead to SALES! So, if I were one of those few winners/finalists, I’m sure I would heap nothing but praise on contests… and most of their judges. AND: Years...

Too Many Cooks? It’s Not Just About the Cowboy Beans. . .

~ By Jeff Salter Note: read this true experience (from 6-26-2016) and then tell us what you would write for the very next line. He: “I’m thinking about making some cowboy beans this evening for supper. You okay with my beans?” She: “Sounds lovely.” – – – Later that evening – – – He is browning the meat and hears chopping behind him. She sneaks over and dumps a pile of fragments into the meat. He: “What was that?” She: “Just a few onions.” After some more stirring, he is briefly looking the other way when she squirts in a...

Spooky Noise in the Dark Bathroom

~ By Jeff Salter We writers tend to have vivid imaginations… especially when it’s night time and we’re alone in the house. This is a true story from May of 2014. See if you can figure out the actual solution to this mystery. OR… how would you WRITE the solution? — Tap…clack-click. Tap…clack-click. My ears are more finely tuned to spooky unknown sounds at night when my wife is out of town. I had just gotten into bed, around midnight, when I heard this repeated eerie sound, Tap…clack-click. It seemed to be coming from the bathroom, the door of...

Setting the Scene… Which Suddenly CHANGES

~ By Jeff Salter Sometimes when we’re writing and have a particular scene going, we realize that all kinds of things could happen AFTER that initial scene set-up. ~             The following actually occurred, in early July, four years ago. Sometimes you see things that make you wish you hadn’t. My wife and I were eating supper at a local spot we like. Seated next to the windows, we couldn’t help but notice two guys approaching from a newly-parked vehicle.             “His barn door is open,” I said… with the casual observation skills of an experienced writer. “Why’d you...

Friday Writing Prompt — The Bank Robber

~ By Jeff Salter Happy Friday.  Today, to kick off the weekend, we’ve got a writing prompt. Thank you to Jeff Salter for coming up with it! Don’t be shy. Dive in and give this a shot. It’ll get you warmed up for a weekend of writing, and prompts are a great exercise in learning about your voice. Have fun! SITUATION: In NYC, you’ve just been taken hostage by a notorious bank robber from the 1930s. Describe the robber. He didn’t start out to involve you, but you were innocently standing behind his getaway car — so he improvised and pushed you...

Valentine’s Day — In Retrospect

~ By Jeff Salter  I can only assume I had heard of it previously, but I didn’t sense the true importance of Valentine’s Day until fifth grade when my heart was first captured by Robbie B. Around the perimeter of that classroom, each student’s small paper sack was tacked (?) to the rim of the chalk tray which bordered the black-board . The sacks must have been provided, because all were the same size and color. Presumably, we had used previous class time to decorate and write...

Interview With Book Reviewer Kathy Heare Watts

Note: This week, chapter member Jeff Salter had the opportunity to interview book reviewer Kathy Heare Watts, and has kindly shared some of the interview for us to post here.  Thank you, Jeff, for giving us this valuable view into the mind of a reviewer! You can find the full interview here.  If you have any questions for Jeff or Kathy, leave a comment.  Take it away, Jeff!      Lots of people will occasionally review a story they’ve read, but Kathy Heare Watts has tackled book reviewing as though it’s a mission! One thing (besides sales) that all...