The Writing Life: reflections by a working writer. The Writing Life

Reflections of a working writer, a university screenwriting professor, and the editor of Oregon Literary Review.

Posts from past seven days. For others, see archives (below).

Video welcome (AVI, 9.8M)


Site Feed.

Looking for permalinks? Click on time after each post.

Search this blog:

Find any book

Project Gutenberg
Online Free Book Catalog (classics, world lit, etc.)

AA Independent Press Guide
A free online guide to 2000+ lit mags and publishers.

Everyone Who's Anyone in Adult Trade Publishing and Tinseltown Too
Extraordinary free info useful to writers when marketing.

Preditors & Editors
A guide to publishers and publishing services for serious writers, including info on scam agents.

Free screenwriting software
Cinergy, a script editor, free from Mindstar Productions. Easily write your screenplay in correct format.

Recommended screenwriting books
Some important reading for serious students.

Spec Script Writing: An Annotated Example
Short guide to correct screenwriting format and writing style.

Today in Literature

The New Yorker

The New York Review of Books

NY Times Sunday Book Review

Make a post


Looking for permalinks? Click on time after each post.

Technorati Profile

Charles Deemer

Oregon Literary Review

MFA, Playwriting, University of Oregon

Writing faculty, Portland State University (part-time)

Retired playwright and screenwriter.
Active novelist, librettist and teacher.

Email: cdeemer(at)yahoo(dot)com

The eagle flies!


Literary archive

The Sextant Press

Personal home page

Electronic screenwriting tutorial



Finalist, Oregon Book Award

Practical Screenwriting

Love At Ground Zero


More books.

Blogs by (mostly) creative writers:

"Can We Talk About Me For A Change?"
Playwright Debra Neff Nathans

Debbie Ridpath Ohi, a weblog for writers (resources)

Silliman's Blog
Ron Silliman, contemporary poetry and poetics

Maud Newton
literary links, amusements, politics, rants

Darren Barefoot
Technical and creative writing, theatre, Dublin

Rob's Writing Pains
Journey of a struggling writer.

Mad, Mad World
Cara Swann, fiction writer, journalist, "reflections on humanity, random news & my life."

Random musings on a writer's life and times.

Barbara Flaska's compilation of the best online articles about music and culture.

Write Of Way
Samantha Blackmon's written musings on writing (composition and rhetoric).

Alexander b. Craghead: blog
Writing, photography, and watercolors.

Rodney's Painted Pen
Rodney Bohen's daily commentary "on the wondrous two legged beast we fondly refer to as mankind." His pen runneth over.

Frustrated Writer
This one named Nicole.

scribble, scribble, scribble
Journalist Dale Keiger teaches nonfiction scribbling to undergraduate and graduate students at Johns Hopkins University.

The Unofficial Dave Barry Blog
The very one.

The Hive
The official blog of science fiction / horror author Terence West.

William Gibson Blog
Famed author of Neuromancer and Johnny Mnemonic: The Screenplay.

The Word Foundry
Joe Clifford Faust's "blog of a working writer: tracking writing projects, musings on the creative process, occasional side trips into music, media, politics, religion, etc."

A Writer's Diary
By Cynthia Harrison, who has the good sense to quote Virginia Woolf: "The truth is that writing is the profound pleasure and being read the superficial."

Bow. James Bow.
The journal of James Bow and his writing.

Michael Montoure's weblog about writing, primarily horror and speculative fiction.

By David Henry, "a poet's weblog from Aberdeen, Scotland."

Modem Noise
By Adrian Bedford, a "fledgling Pro SF Writer, living in Perth, Australia."

"A wry writerly blog named in honour of a minor character in a minor Shirley Temple film."

Real Writers Bounce
Holly Lisle's blog, "a novelist's roadmap through the art and ordeal of finding the damned words."

2020 Hindsight
By Susan.

downWrite creative
Phil Houtz's notes on the writing life.

Vivid: pieces from a writer's notebook
Blog of Canadian poet Erin Noteboom.

The Literary Saloon
The literary weblog at the complete review.

Rabbit Blog
The rabbit writes on popular culture.

This Girl's Calendar
Momoka writes short stories.

Twists & Turns
Musings by writer Michael Gates.

Plays and Musicals -- A Writer's Introspective
A blog by John D. Nugent - Composer, Playwright, and Artistic Director of the Johnson City Independent Theatre Company

The American Sentimentalist
"Never has any people endured its own tragedy with so little sense of the tragic." Essays by Mark W. Anderson.

Screenwriting By Blog
David C. Daniel writes a screenplay online. "I've decided to publish the process as a way to push myself through it. From concept to completion, it'll be here."
Official site of occult fiction author Sean-Alonzo, exploring symbolism, alternative history, philosophy, secret societies and other areas of the esoteric tradition.

Crafty Screenwriting
Maunderings of Alex Epstein, tv scribe, about life, politics, and the tv show I'm co-creating.

Letters From The Home Front
The life of a writer, 21, home schooled, rural living.

Venal Scene
The blog of bite-sized plays inspired by the news (by Dan Trujillo).

'Plaint of the Playwright
Rob Matsushita, a playwright from Wisconsin, "whines a lot."

I Pity Da Fool!
Glenn's adventures in screenwriting.

Time In Tel-Aviv
Hebrew modern literature at its best, by Corinna Hasofferett.

Big Window
Robin Reagler's poetry blog.

John Baker's Blog
Author of the Sam Turner and Stone Lewis novels.

The Writing Life With Dorothy Thompson
What goes on during a writer's busy day?

The Rebel Housewife
Not just a housewife!

Barry's Personal Blog
A running commentary on writing and the writing life.

Bonnie Blog
Maintained by Bonnie Burton of

Writer's Blog.
By easywriter. "From the walls of caves to cyberspace."

Flogging the Quill
Pursuing the art and craft of compelling storytelling, by an editor, Ray Rhamey.

Man Bytes Hollywood
Sharing tools, strategies and resources for the screenwriter's journey.

Mad for the smell of paper
A writing journal.

The Writing Life
A blog by Katey Schultz.

It Beats Working 9-5
A screenwriting blog by a young Canadian screenwriter.

Stealing Heaven From The Lips Of God
Writer & Artist, Dee Rimbaud reflects upon politics, religion, art, poetry, the meaning of life, the nature of God and why toast always lands butter side down on carpets.

Robert Peake
Heart and Mind, Fully Engage ... a poet's website.

Sidestepping Real
By Ren Powell, poet, children’s writer, essayist and editor.

Suggest a writer's blog

plagiarism blog

The Writing Life...
"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's."
J.D. Salinger

"All my best friends are writers and are dead."
A friend over beer, Berkeley, winter, 1959

"And it came to pass that all the stars in the firmament had ceased to shine. But how was anyone to know?"
The Half-Life Conspiracy

After October 31, 2006,
new posts are published at

The Writing Life II

(Posts archived here are from 01/10/03 - 10/31/06)

Friday, July 22, 2005  
In the groove
Another early morning in the coffee shop with the AlphaSmart. The house guests, a much younger set than we are, were out on the town last night, getting in late, so I expect the house won't be awake till after nine this morning. It's seven now, and I've already put in a day's work of writing, 500 words on the mystery (finishing 21) and 800 words on the road story. The latter is divided into three "books" and I feel good about the first two, which are drafted, but I'm not quite sure I've found the right structure for the last one yet (the books are called Eros, Fidelia, Agape, the 3 Greek words for what we call love: sex, friendship, spiritual love. Note from this root, infidelity is a betrayal of friendship. a betrayal of sexual love would be called inerosity or something. Very interesting.) At any rate, Harriet is giving the guests a grand tour this morning before they head out of town to Eugene and a high school reunion. (H's adopted son and wife.) H and I plan to see a movie this afternoon.

I think yesterday may have been the most important day I'll have in the story development of the mystery. Unless everything changes ha ha. But yesterday I came up with the back story that appears to be the one I want, that will drive everything else. Back story is like a foundation, the context of the emotional journey. Most beginning writers make the mistake of providing too much detail about it, thereby shifting the focus away from the present story to the back story. A big mistake. The back story as presented in the film Mystic River is a great example of handling it right -- the kid being taken away and molested obviously defines an important emotional aspect of the story and serves as a kind of metaphor for the story's meaning, but we see it only in brief glimpses. Novels, especially long sprawling ones, often give us much more than this, but I write tight novels in the 60-80,000 word range where there's no room for this. The dramatic story must be in the dramatic present tense or focus is lost.

I definitely feel I am getting better at the mystery genre. Dead Body in a Small Room was actually my third. I wrote two "Red Trevorak" novels, The Deadly Doowop and The Sputnik Scam, though I can find only the manuscript to the former. When I tried to market it twenty years ago, an editor a Bantam told me I had written a B+ novel in an A+ market. Well, from my own reading, I surely don't think we are in an A+ market any more -- I'd call the market something like a B. My agent says regional mysteries are hot, which definitely is the genre I'm working in. There is reason for mild optimism. I think this new one, with the working title Lucifer's Scream (a title John likes), will be a stronger book than the first one -- looks to be so far, at any rate, as the whole picture slowly comes together.

In the third one, I think I want to do something with the nuclear bomb testing in Nevada and its aftermath, even though that happened in the southern part of the state and my focus is northern Nevada. But there are lots of possibilities, from health issues to missing bomb components.

So writing is going damn well now, I definitely am in a productive rhythm. I have fallen behind on my reading, including research I still have to do for the mystery. But with two more months ahead of me before I teach again, I have a great shot at finishing the three drafts on my list to get done this summer.

I'm also enjoying my time away from teaching more than usual, which suggests it may be time to retire. I am committed to 2005-6 and sometime late in the year I'll have to make a decision about 2006-7. We want to sell our house before 2010. We're somewhat at the mercy of when they build all those houses in our adjacent orchard. I don't understand why nothing has happened yet. I thought they'd be clearing off the land and starting this summer since they won the zoning conflict. They did tear down the house that existed on the property but other than that, nothing. I have no idea what is holding them up. Now that it's a done deal, it's probably in our interests to have the development done sooner rather than later, to make our house more attractive on the market. These are high end houses, which should increase our property value. But it has to get done. It would be hard to sell during a construction mess, I think.

So maybe I have two more years of teaching left. We'll see.

7/22/2005 08:58:00 AM | 0 comments

Comments: Post a Comment

Sketch says, "Happiness is sunshine and a bone." Posted by Hello

This page is powered by Blogger. __The Writing Life