Those who write clearly have readers; those who write obscurely have commentators.
– Albert Camus
Crime fiction, personal essay, op-ed, and memoir writer; writing consultant; speaker; instructor; blogger; book reviewer; editor; and sometime actor.
Imagine you are sitting in front of your computer. All you can see is a blank screen. You wait for an idea to fall into your mind, but nothing hits you. Don’t give up. Instead, start writing about anything – the bad date from last evening, your mother-in-law, your precarious financial situation. Keep writing; do not stop. You will pick up some emotion, often anger. Go with the emotion and keep writing until you feel you have no more to write on the subject now. Then stop. Or set a timer for 15 minutes and write until the timer dings. Then stop.
You might just have something there for a future story – fiction or non-fiction. You will also have loosened up your creative juices and should be able to write without the blank screen problem.
I used to start with this freefall writing exercise at the beginning of my East End Writers’ Group gatherings. Sometimes I’d use a sound, sometimes a visual, sometimes a sentence such as “When I opened my front door, I saw…” After 10 or 15 minutes of writing, we would stop and some of the writers would read out their scribbles.
One author was inspired to expand a free-fall writing exercise from a visual – an ugly witch’s head – into a short story. Then he wrote several more short stories, which became a book published by a small trade publisher.
You never know where it will lead. All because you took your momentary writer’s block beyond a blank screen.
Writing op-ed essays focusing on current social and health issues, and the writing world. Writing personal essays or short memoir based on my childhood and personal life learning with a universal appeal, sometimes combining op-ed and personal essay. Blogs that are personal or career-based, often focusing on advice and tips. Book reviews for authors, and for print and online publications (novels, short story collections, memoir and biographies, self-help, new age, health, business). Writing crime fiction – the Beyond mystery series – short stories and novels.
A few examples of published writing
Book Review for a publication
Really Dead, by J. B. Forman. Quill & Quire, December 2013
Book Review for the author
In the Shadow of the Conquistador, by Shane Joseph on Goodreads, October 2015
Career-oriented (writing fiction and marketing books)
Editing & Consulting Services
All of us who write need a good editor. That is someone other than yourself, your sibling, your mother, your spouse or partner, your friends, your dog. Think about this for a minute. You are too close to your writing to be objective. Compare it to being in a tunnel because often you have tunnel-vision about your work. To you it appears as great or dreadful, whether the whole or in part. Or sometimes you have the insight to realize something isn’t working. So you have to call in the expert – another pair of eyes, preferably someone you don’t know and who doesn’t know you, preferably someone who has editing skills. Familiarity breeds contempt, but it can also breed praise no matter what the state of the writing.
True, I sit on both sides of the fence – writing and editing. Maybe some of you do, too. The key here is to compartmentalize. When you are writing, put your editor to sleep, and get someone else to do the editing. When you are editing, it better be someone else’s manuscript. This doesn’t mean you never rewrite your own manuscript.
And that’s how I operate.
Working one-on-one with authors including: tutoring, manuscript evaluation of book-length or novella-length manuscripts, short stories (including collections), personal essays and opinion pieces, newsletters, blogs, book proposals, query letters, providing marketing advice. Please note that I am not taking on any more copy editing of book-length and novella-length manuscripts. Copy editing for shorter pieces as listed above will still be available.
Fiction – mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, suspense, romance, commercial, literary, young adult.
Non-fiction – biographies, memoirs, essays, health (alternative and mainstream), crime, business, and humour.
A few samples of clients published writing
Copy editing – Fiction:
Rene Natan aka Irene Gargantini Strybosch –
The Blackpox Threat (Old Line Publishing, 2010)
Dead Wrong (Blue Denim Press, 2014)
Copy editing – Non-fiction
Heartbeats: true stories of love (print copy January, 2015)
Memoir: Sunrise from an Icy Heart (Sabu Press, 2014)
What Some Clients and Colleagues Say
Thank you for your editing and guidance with my story “Sajida’s Judgment.” And not least, thank you for suggesting I enter it in the Toronto Star’s Short Story Contest 2007. The story took third place. That’s really gratifying.
Kurt D. Lynn
The articles, which you wrote for the Newsletter, were enjoyed by all, especially the interviews of club members, which were a new feature which you introduced. You did an excellent job of both editing and redesigning our Club Newsletter.
Sheila Middleton, Past President
Aurora-Newmarket University Women’s Club
Charge by the page, hourly, or by the project. Package deals available as well as individual jobs.
Method of Payment
Cash, cheque, Interac email transfer, PayPal (note with PayPal there is a 10% surcharge to cover PayPal’s fee for transferring money to my account).