Craft a Bridge

Craft a Bridge

By Rory C. Keel

The Writer

Within the writer is an individual not much different than his readers and in some ways similar to his characters. Filled with personal life experiences and holding a small piece of the lives of individuals around them, the writer can create worlds and invent unique characters to fill them.

The Reader

The reader wants to know about the writer’s characters. He is curious about the details of the lives written on the pages of story. The reader says Show me, let me ride with them, Let me join in the battle, make me laugh or reveal the suffering and let me cry.

The bridge between the two

The bridge between the writer and the reader is the book. Study the craft and write in such a way that it compels the reader to cross the bridge to find the answers to his curiosity.

The Art of Writing

The Art of Writing

By Rory C. Keel

I appreciate a good work of art. I enjoy paintings, sculptures, and on occasion a memorable structure of architecture. Some of these works I don’t understand, like abstract art, there’s been times that i’ve wondered if I could do better by closing my eyes and throwing the paintbrush at the canvas. But I do appreciate a good piece of art.

In order to understand art, I participated in a college art appreciation class. In this class I found out that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Art is the expression of an idea, formed in such a way it allows others to enjoy the experience. This is done by creating music, paintings, sculpture, dance and even writing. Within each of these forms of art, are principles of craftsmanship that must be followed regarding specific materials and how they work.

Meet the Artist

Thinking about my writing as an art form keeps me from over-analyzing and being too critical of my mental idea. This also helps prevent writers block. As a sculptor takes a blob of clay and shapes it to his or her idea, the writer needs to put the material, the idea, on the table or paper, and turn off the editor for the first draft.

Introduce the Craftsman

When the idea is formed, then the elements of the craft can be applied and the editor can take over to finish the masterpiece. Writing is the merger of art and craft.

Gone, Not Forgotten

Outtakes #19

 Gone, Not Forgotten

I opened DEAD BY NIGHTFALL, the final installment in the DEAD BY trilogy, and read the sweetest memorial to a favorite author. Beverly Beaver, known to her fans as Beverly Barton, had passed away.

Beverly Barton was an award winning New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty books. She had over five million copies of her books in print in fifteen different languages. Her family referred to her writing as her dream career. I’ve read many of her books. She was a master with writing series novels. I would get hooked on book one and then watch the bookstore shelves for the next novel. I was a fan, but I never wrote to let her know how many hours of reading enjoyment she provided me. I never thanked her for teaching me about writing. While we did not meet, her writings gave me insight into improving my own work.

You see, Beverly Barton crafted memorable characters. Her heroes are men with pasts, full of flaws, and searching for redemption. They never excuse their mistakes. Instead they accept responsibility and move forward. They will give their lives to protect those they love. In like manner, heroines are the epitome of the line from the old song, “I am woman, hear me roar”. Her women have strength combined with a softer, nurturing side. They can survive without a man in their lives, but when they meet the man, they commit themselves to the relationship. Like their men, they have flaws, but they accept their imperfections, and grow in spite of them. I learned from her works that villains do not have to have a redeeming quality. After all, true evil does exist in this world.

Beverly’s settings are perfection. She writes of rural towns and mountain communities. Her characters thrive in world capitals. She has the knack of moving the good and the evil seamlessly from a private fortress in the United States to the perverted dens of iniquity in Europe, to Asian locals, and to the south Pacific Islands.

She made me believe what I don’t believe. Through her settings, characterizations, and description, I came to accept the existence of empaths, clairvoyants, and healers. She didn’t force me to believe; instead she created a path that allowed me to come to terms with the concepts and suspend by disbelief.

This talented author entertained me, taught me, and helped me to improve my craft. I will truly miss her stories and her lessons.

Cait Collins


On Becoming a Senior Citizen

I dreaded turning fifty, but three weeks prior to my birthday, I met a talented writer whose praise for my writing erased all my depression. As my sixtieth birthday approached, I realized I looked forward to the day. No depression this time, no doubts about aging. Instead I looked forward to another decade. You see the older I get, the less I fear. I have my successes and my failures and celebrate both. I care less about what others think and put more emphasis on what I’ve come to know to be right and honorable. There’s less drama in my life. And I get senior citizens’ discounts.

I remember the first time I saw snow and my first snow storm. I met an English gentleman, had my first and only high tea. I experienced a stormy ferry ride from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, and I sailed a windjammer, hauling canvas and taking the wheel. I recall my father taking us to a regatta, seeing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their bright red uniforms patrolling the grounds. I’ve felt the mists of Niagara Falls on my face, gone snorkeling, watched dolphins play. I was privileged to be elected as a delegate to the state convention and assist in the election process. I was the first female video tape operator in Amarillo, Texas. I saw the development of an industry from back and white television to color to digital to high definition. Alan Shepherd blasted into space, John Glen orbited the earth, and man walked on the moon. I saw John Kennedy six weeks before his death. I remember the Civil Rights Movement and the tension following the shooting of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Secret Service finger printed me so that I could join the local press corps for President Gerald Ford’s visit to Amarillo. Computers were huge main frames with data was printed on punch cards. Now home computers, internet, and wireless printers are the norm. I stood in line at the bank while the man at the window robbed the teller. I am a member of Delta Psi Omega, a national honorary acting fraternity.

I have loved and lost, and lived to love again. I stood at my mother’s and my husband’s bedsides and watched them lose their battles against disease. Friends have died. Children were born. My faith waivered and was restored.

I don’t mean to sound like a braggart. The truth is we all have experiences that are unique as well as universal. Our experiences shape our lives and add richness to them. And it’s these experiences that can lend depth and color to our characters and stories. As writers, we should never fear to draw on our own experiences to bring added dimension to our work. It’s easier to write about standing at a gravesite when you’ve been there. How can you write about love if you’ve never experienced it? It can be done, but authentic emotions tell the story best. Use what you have witnessed, experienced and felt as you craft your stories. Your work will be better for it.

Cait Collins