The Dynamic Sentence

Outtakes 313


The Dynamic Sentence

By Cait Collins



A couple of weeks ago I suggested we might diagram sentences. Well, it isn’t as easy on my computer as with a pencil and a piece of paper. Truth is diagramming a sentence isn’t as important as writing the dynamic sentence. We all know the different parts of speech and how to punctuate our work. The trick is combining the parts and making them sing.

One good, strong verb is worth more than a passive verb and a dozen adverbs. For example:

Jordan walked across the room and stared sadly into Merrilyn’s stormy gray eyes.


Jordan stormed across the living room. Yanking Merrilyn from the plush sofa, he lifted her up to meet his cold stare. “We’re through,” he spat. He released her allowing her to fall back on the couch, and then stomped out the door.

Changing the verb from a generic walk to an action verb not only sets a mood, it gives definition to the character. We know Jordan’s angry and believes Merrilyn is at fault. If we want more drama, we can create a series of short sentences to ramp up the tension.

“I don’t know,” Merrilyn stated. “I was never involved in Gray’s activities. And if you think I’m going to stand here and take your bull, think again. You jerk. It’s not about you. It’s about my kids and their safety.”

To slow the action, use longer, more complex sentences. Just remember variety is necessary to keep the reader interested in the work. Page after page of complex sentences soon become numbing and difficult to follow. Similarly, a page of fast action can exhaust the reader. Varying the sentence lengths balances the story and makes for an easier read.

Promote You: Author Bio

Promote You: Author Bio

Natalie Bright

This week, think about updating your author bio across your many social media platforms. I removed a sentence about my education and added a sentence about a soon to be released book about rescue horses. Let people know that you write, blog and speak (or whatever your passions are).

Do you have a common theme that runs through most of your books? For example; “Fan of thrillers & exploring abandoned buildings.”

Also think about your followers on each the platforms and how they differ. You might want to have slightly different versions for each. I have saved different versions in a Word Folder titled “Nat’s Promo”. Labeled as short bio, 100 words, 500 words, or based on the need such as program speaker intro, freelance bio, or back matter bio for books.

Tweak your Author Bio this week on all platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Facebook Public Page
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Claim your BookBub author page
  • Amazon Author Page
  • Smashwords profile
  • Did I leave one out?

Below is the link to a helpful blog post from BookBub,

Writing Your Author Bio? Here are 10 Great Examples.

Have a great week everybody and happy promoting!

The Saturday Morning Blogger – Vacations

The Saturday Morning Blogger – Vacations

James Barrington


Google defines “vacation” as “an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.”

When I was part of the work-a-day world, a vacation to me definitely involved leaving home and phone behind. More importantly than that, it involved a change of pace. I didn’t want to be ruled by a timepiece. It involved a change of scenery – preferably one with a completely different type of scenery than what I could see within fifty miles of home.

I grew up watching Walter Cronkite and Charles Kuralt. Charles Kuralt spent his professional life “On the road” seeing America. That lifestyle appealed to me – and still does to this day. For me, a perfect vacation involves having some place in mind that I would like to visit, but plenty of time to go there and get back without stressing over a schedule. Too many lives are ruled by schedules. My professional life was ruled by clocks and calendars, with appointments, meetings, deadlines and other generally annoying obstacles to “smelling the roses.” In my perfect vacation (which I have never had), I pull away from the house heading in the general direction of my ultimate destination, and drive. If I see something along the way that catches my eye or piques my imagination, I stop and take a closer look – probably photographing as I go. When it’s time to sleep, I’ll stop and sleep. When it’s time to eat, I’ll find food. Maybe I’ll eat in a restaurant or maybe I’ll cook a meal over a campfire. That concept drives my wife crazy. So, in order not to have to listen to “where are we spending tonight” every fifteen minutes, I’ve given in to her programmed, packaged idea of a vacation just to get her to make a trip out of the house.

In recent years, I’ve heard her grudgingly agree in such a way that I know it won’t be worth the effort to actually leave the house. I love my wife, but many of her interests and mine exist in different universes. Very seldom do we find common grounds on television shows or movies, and the Bible is about the only book we both read.

So, on those rare occasions when we leave Randall County together, we don’t drive and see the sights (my choice), we fly (her choice) and tolerate being treated like our baggage (which was lost both going and coming and left out in the rain to collect water on the return flight) on our last trip. Maybe I should write a book about that.

On the other hand, I’ll just write a blog…




             A Job Done Well

                By Nandy Ekle



As an adult, my favorite book to read to my kids and grandkids is Where the Wild Things Are. I love reading this with all the drama I can muster. And the kids have all seemed to love it as much as I do. Last January, my eight-year-old granddaughter, who reads on a college level herself, asked me to read her a story. The book she handed me was Where the Wild Things Are. My heart melted. Needless to say, I read it to her and her brother, and then she read it to me.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

“The Dark Tower” Movie Review

“The Dark Tower” Movie Review

by Adam Huddleston


So, I attended the premiere of “The Dark Tower” last night, and I wanted to throw my two cents in about the movie. Due to the fact that there are many who have not read the source material, and I absolutely loathe folks who spoil the story for others, I will do my best not to ruin the plot for you.

Ok, after months and months (years actually) of speculation and chatting on Reddit about the movie, I went in cautiously optimistic. If you read online reviews of the film, you will see a myriad of responses; some constructive, most destructive. My overall impression was this: it was mediocre.

I understand that, when trying to appeal to a wide audience (most of whom have never read the novels), you have to make the story interesting without overwhelming people with exposition. The filmmakers included a good mix of several of the books and most of the performances were great. I felt that Matthew McConaughey’s portrayal of the Man in Black was sufficiently menacing. Isris Elba and Tom Taylor did a respectable job as Roland and Jake, respectively.

The action was probably the best part of the film, even if it did border on absurd a few times. The dialogue was hit and miss, mostly miss (it seemed like sometimes they were just throwing in phrases from the books to try to make the “Constant Reader” happy). I’m hoping that the movie will make enough to allow them to proceed with a television series. According to the filmmakers, the series would be closer to the canon of the novels.

Anyway, whether or not you are a fan of Stephen King or have read the novels, I suggest you at least give the film one viewing. You just might like it!

Be successful

Be successful

Rory C. Keel

The word “Successful” is an adjective that is defined as accomplishing an aim or purpose.

As writers, success is accomplished when you start. With every step from learning how to write, doing research for materials, to putting letters on a page, each action is success.

Others reach success when they complete a piece or when they market a published work.

Being successful is not static or a finite level that a writer achieves, but success is a description of someone moving forward step-by-step accomplishing their goals.

Start writing today and be successful with every step.

Road Trip

Outtakes 312

Road Trip

By Cait Collins



Sometimes the best research is a road trip. Seeing, holding, smelling, and maybe tasting the past or the present makes the setting real. You see the ghosts, hear their laughter, and shed tears with them. Imagine walking the wards of an Army hospital built in the 1860’s. What was innovative then seems primitive now.

Out on the lawn a baseball game is in progress. The Kids’ team is up at bat against a youth team from a nearby town. The uniforms are heavy cotton and yellowed with age. The gloves look different, but not being a baseball fan, I couldn’t put my finger on what was off.

A trip to the site of the Sand Creek Massacre taught me to view Native Americans differently. I could sympathize with the men and women who had traveled the area for centuries in search of game to feed their families.

My most recent road trip took the Wordsmith Six group to Shamrock, Texas and the U Drop Inn. We roamed the small café, showroom/gift shop, and the walkways surrounding the place. It brought back memories of the small Texas towns where my grandmothers lived. And the environment sparked creative juices. I now have a short story to write.

Day or weekend trips provide endless opportunities to learn and examine the past, present and future. They provide inspiration, and help build friendships. I recommend taking trips with your writer friends. It’s great fun.

Promoting You:  Learning

Promoting You:  Learning

Natalie Bright

One of the best ways to promote better is to keep learning about your craft. In this day and age, it seems at the point I feel comfortable with a new tool, it’s time to move on to something better and different. You don’t have to spend long hours to promote yourself, just pick one thing, simple or huge, to do every day.

Below is my to do list for this week under the topic of Learning:

  1. Become more proficient with Canva for creating and updating my headers for Twitter and Facebook
  2. Registered for a Word Alchemy workshop with Texas High Plains Writers, August 19 in Amarillo.
  3. Began an online class taught by a successful Indie Author to learn her social media process.  It is a monthly investment in my work and my future. Here’s the information.

Join me every Monday for simple tips that you can do every day to better promote yourself and your work.  Moving onward…


The Saturday Morning Blogger – Random Thoughts

The Saturday Morning Blogger – Random Thoughts

James Barrington


How do computer programmers tell a random number generator to really be random? Is there a pattern to the randomness? Why don’t they repeat the same number three times in a row from time to time – just to be random?

Who decided that cutting grass with a lawnmower to make it all a uniform height was more attractive than letting it grow naturally? After we all became sheep and followed that pattern, local governments legislated that grass could not exceed a certain (arbitrary) height. Wouldn’t sheep be better lawn mowers? After all, they cut it and fertilize it all in one pass…

I’m convinced that it’s pure economics that lead fashions to change. After all, why else would someone tear out perfectly good carpet to replace it with a hardwood floor… or vise versa. Such dynamics lead men’s neckties to go from narrow to wide, bright prints to plaid or stripes, and long to short. Such dynamics lead women’s shoes to go from high heels to flats and women’s dresses from unbuttonable rows of buttons down the back to virtually nonexistent fronts that make women self-conscious about their exposed cleavage while insisting on wearing plunging necklines. Economics must be the most obtuse and ridiculous form of political correctness rooted in personal greed of the guardians of the economy…

City dwellers look at the suburbs and long for the uncrowded streets and slower pace where they can raise their children without fear of gangs and crime. Then they moved to the suburbs in droves, bringing with them their vices and the congestion and filth they lived in while a city-dweller. In the meantime, the pollute the atmosphere with exhaust fumes and drive up the price of gasoline because of their long commutes with other lemmings, just like them, who didn’t really flee the city so much as expanding its corrupting influence. Meanwhile, their kids find new friends from whom they can buy their drugs and with whom they can vandalize public and private property. Then they all wonder why nirvana wasn’t everything they expected it to be. Who knew?

Are prime numbers more random than even numbers? Is five a random number of paragraphs?

Book Review – The Headless Cupid


Book Review – The Headless Cupid

By Nandy Ekle


The thing I loved about The Headless Cupid was the humor. This was the story of a blended family, which was just becoming a common situation back in the early 70’s. A widower with four children married a divorced woman with one daughter. The daughter was the same age as the oldest sibling of the four, but being an only child, she didn’t know how to fit into a large family. She puts on airs of being involved in the occult, which was also a buzz word around that time.

The story is told in the oldest sibling’s point of view. He has become the care taker of the younger siblings since their mother’s death and he just wants peace and friendship. He wants his new step-sister to feel like part of the family and decides to g along with her in her search of the occult.

It’s the younger siblings who provide the humor as they approach the whole thing as a game. The book also has some intense moments as they deal with a poltergeist.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.