Thursday, February 23, 2012

One Thought Per Sentence

One maxim that my students find helpful is: One thought per sentence. Readers only process one thought at a time. So give them time to digest the first set of facts you want them to know. Then give them the next piece of information they need to know, which further explains the first fact. Be grateful for the period. Writing is so hard that all us, once launched, tend to ramble. Instead of a period we use a comma, followed by a transitional word (and, while), and soon we have strayed into a wilderness that seems to have no road back out. Let the humble period be your savior. There’s no sentence too short to be acceptable in the eyes of God.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You Can't Tell Or Show Everything

You can’t tell or show everything within the compass of a book. If you try to tell or show everything, your reader will die of boredom before the end of the first page. You must, therefore, ask yourself what is the core of the matter you wish to communicate to your reader? Having decided on the core of the matter, all that you tell him must relate to it and illustrate it more and more vividly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interview with author, Micheál O’Flaherty a.k.a. Mike Deane.

I would like to welcome Micheál O’Flaherty a.k.a. Mike Deane, author of published westerns -
Drive to Redemption and Wagon Hunt.

DK. Where were you born, and where do you call home?

MD. I am originally from Lixnaw in North Kerry but now live in Mallow, Co. Cork.

DK. What is the name of your most recent book or WIP and if you had to sum it up in 30 words or less, what would you say?

MD. My most recent book is a western called Wagon Hunt. It is an action packed historical thriller set along the emigrant trail in the USA. The characters are down and dirty, and the good guys aren’t even that good.

DK. If you gave one of your main characters the opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say about you?

MD. Jim Boland would probably say that I am hung up on making my
characters suffer before giving them a shot at redemption. I imagine they all die young because of all the whisky and emotional trauma.

DK. Do you have plans for a new book, and is this book part of a series?

MD. I am trying to write a contemporary espionage/thriller at the moment – set between Central America, Paris and Venice. Still at the planning stage though.

DK. Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

MD. I like writing in short, sharp bursts. Usually in the morning at the kitchen table but I normally just fit it in when I have time.

DK. Laptop, desktop or pen for writing?

MD. Pen for planning and outlining – laptop for typing.

DK. Who designed the cover of your book?

MD. Robert Hale publishers designed for Drive to Redemption
Solstice Publishing designed for Wagon Hunt.

DK. Do you have a book trailer?

MD. I don’t have a book trailer.

DK. What are your thoughts on book trailers?

MD. Anything that attracts readers to your work must be a good thing provided that it is cost effective.

DK. Do you have any advice for other writers?

MD. Persevere. Every word written is one word closer to the end. I find I write better when I have a goal in mind. I often have a scene fully planned out in my head or in my notebook before I start writing.
Marketing is very important once you have completed you book – put yourself out there either online or by meeting readers or booksellers in person.

DK. Is your book in Print, eBook or both?

MD. Both.

DK. Have you self-published and if so how would you describe the experience?

MD. No.

DK. What books have influenced your writing?

MD. With my westerns I loved Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. I couldn’t compare myself to him, though (obviously).

DK. Do you have an e-reader, and do you prefer it to traditional published novels?

MD. I have an e-reader but I prefer traditionally published novels, although I read The Girl Who Played with Fire in my kindle and thoroughly enjoyed it. If the book is good enough I don’t think the format matters.

DK. Where do you prefer to buy your books?

MD. Second hand bookshops for older fiction – I would buy non-fiction new if I felt I had to have it. Being a librarian, I borrow most of my books!!

DK. What book would you like to read again?

MD. I’ve read Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald a few times - great style, setting and writing.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon is another favourite.

DK. What book are you currently reading and in what format?

MD. I am currently reading Death in Siberia by Alex Dryden in paperback.

DK. What new authors have grabbed your attention, and why?

MD. William Ryan’s book The Holy Thief was a great read, I thought. Well imagined setting as well as an interesting plot and characterisation.

DK. An early childhood memory -

MD. Kerry winning the 1986 All Ireland.

Ray Houghton’s goal against England in Euro ’88.

DK. What’s your poison?

MD. Guinness

DK. Coffee or tea?

MD. Both.

DK. Do you have a favourite food?

MD. Bacon and Cabbage – there’s a reason it’s a classic!

DK. If you had to choose - Starter or Pudding?

MD. Pudding – preferably Christmas pudding all year round.

DK. What do you eat for breakfast?

MD. Tea and Toast

DK. Name three things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?

MD. Book, notebook, biro (children)

DK. Sleep in, or get up early?

MD. Two small kids, so get up early.

DK. Your favourite gadget -

MD. Remote control.

DK. List three books you just recently read and would recommend?

MD. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith, Lenin by Robert Service, Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva.

DK. List three of your favourite all time movies?

MD. Godfather, Royal Tenenbaums, Das Boot.

DK. Name a new movie you recently enjoyed or disliked?

MD. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was excellent, in my opinion.

DK. Where can your readers find you?

My blog:

Twitter: @mikedeaneauthor

Amazon: Drive to Redemption:

Wagon Hunt:

I would like to thank Micheál O’Flaherty a.k.a. Mike Deane for allowing us the chance to have a chat, and for giving us a glimpse into his writing world.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Grammar is a piano I play by ear

Grammar is a piano I play by ear, since I seem to have been out of school the year the rules were mentioned. All I know of grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object being photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences. The arrangement of words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in you mind. The picture dictates the arrangement. The picture dictates whether this will be a sentence with or without clauses, a sentence that ends hard or a dying-fall sentence, long or short, active or passive. The picture tells you how to arrange words and the arrangement of the words tells you, or tells me, what’s going on in the picture. Nota bene.*
It tells you.
You don’t tell it.


*"Note well."