Bye-Bye

Sadly, this will be my last post – short and to the point! I will be closing this website March 8, 2022. It’s been a blast. Although I will be closing this site, you can still follow me on Facebook. Just type William F. Kovacic in the search bar. Hope to see you there.

Shoutout to Pastor Lewis – Hello, my friend! I accidentally deleted your email containing the books you requested. Could you resend it, please?

I will also be discontinuing my email address at myveryownwritingcoach@gmail.com, but you can always reach me tgaf2011@gmail.com. Be sure to stay in touch.

That wraps it up. Thank you for allowing me to share myself with you over the years. It’s been a privilege I don’t take lightly.

Closing Out

It’s a cold, damp, rainy Wednesday in Central PA. As I mentioned last week, I’ll be closing this website on March 8. Time is running out, so I’m not having a clearance sale, but a clearance give-away. I just have way too much stock and need to get rid of it, so help me out. Go to the Bools and Resources page and pick out any three books. Send me an email with your picks and shipping address to myveryownwritingcoach@gmaikl.com, and they are yours – free. Don’t order through the website as that will charge you for the books. Just send an email.

In the meantime, let me give you a tease with my three favorite stories.

Marine biologist Les Griffin’s precious marine life has been contaminated by radiation off the coast of Miami, Florida, and he has been contracted by the United States Navy to find the cause. The Navy isn’t appreciative of Les’s work, but then neither is Abaddon, who rules the underworld from beneath the Bermuda Triangle. The cost of his investigation – radiation poisoning, his daughter, and his own soul hangs in the balance. What will happen as Les approaches the unknown in the underworld? This suspense-filled book will have you turning pages to find the answer.

Ellie sat at the dining room table staring out through the French doors as a gentle, September breeze filled the room. Autumn’s golden garb was just beginning to clothe the mountains in the distance. She wondered how life ever got so complicated.


Her gaze shifted to the note in her left hand. It read in part – “Dear Ellie, . . . I never meant for this to happen. I don’t know how it all went wrong. I know I’ve caused you so much pain, and I can never make it right. Life has gotten to be too hard too fast. I’m leaving, and I won’t be back.” Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price.

“Call 911! Call 911!” She yelled to the driver. Blood flowing from Peter’s multiple wounds tinged the puddles a diluted red as the rain continued to fall. His faded, pale face told the story. Confusion. Pain. Trauma – Coming death. Peter McClanahan’s journey is just beginning and where it will end, not even The Voice knows. Can you count the twists?

Of course, there are many more to pick from so knock yourself out. Just go to the Books and Resources page. Until next week . . .

WFK

Stories Come and Stories Go

Happy Wednesday!!! The weather is warmer and clearer this week. But I know the end of winter is still a way off. That old varment, Punxutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s weather predicting groundhog, says so. In the meantime, let’s move on.

And sadly, I say, let’s move on. Let me give you some background. In March of 2021, I developed a case of COVID-pneumonia. I was hospitalized for 11 days. They say COVID can do strange things to the brain. I found that to be true. Honestly, from that time forward, my creativity has dried up. I just checked my writing log, and not surprised, I have written only one and a half chapters of Black in the past year. To be completely honest with you, it’ s been very difficult to keep up with this blog over the same time period.

So where does that bring us? I’ll be closing My Very Own Writing Coach and the website on March 8, 2022. It may be, a break will allow me to refresh myself and I can start anew. It’s not a matter of writer’s block. I can fight through writer’s block. It’s a matter of a physical (or physiological) change within me.

My plan for the future is to finish Black no matter how long it takes and to finish a commentary on Genesis 1-11, which also remains undone. Other than that, we’ll see where the future leads. My books will still be available on Amazon. I’ll be deleting my myveryownwritingcoach@gmail.com email, but you can still reach me at tgaf2011@gmail.com, and please do.

I want to thank you all for the friendship you’ve shared and the encouragement you’ve been to me over the years. You are all so very important to me, so please stay in touch. Until then . . .

WFK

Scary Days

These can be scary days we live in if we don’t know where to find the answers. The times have changed forever the face of our world. The times, they are achangin’, but I’m grateful for the time we have to spend together each week. So let’s get to it.

 Often, we’re told that all  you need is a good story to succeed. So what makes a good story? Maybe vibrant characters will hold our reader’s interest. Or could it be we need an exciting plot? All this is true. What isn’t true is that that’s not all we need. 

This week we’ll take a look at description. Remember the last time  you couldn’t put  down a book. What kept the pages turning into the wee hours of the morning? No doubt the characters were well defined. No doubt the plot was intriguing. But what about description? It’s description that makes characters come alive (of course, great dialogue always helps). It’s description that creates a believable and drivable plot.

The key to holding your reader’s attention is to activate their imagination. How do you do this? Vivid description. You can help your readers see past the pages and take them into your world by using powerful descriptions of nouns, in particular. Think people, places, and things. Let’s add events to the list.

Detailed description allows you to establish an emotional connection with your audience, thus making the content more memorable, which keeps your readers engaged and coming back. 

I leave you with three thoughts on description. Hopefully, these will make your writing more compelling and clear.

1. Focus on the human experience. Realize that you are one human writing to another human. What do you experience in your human form? The one on the other side of the book experiences the same things. Make your description identifiable. Just like you, they go through challenges, moments of joy and pain, times of frustration. Let these show in  your writing.

2. Use sensory words. This is one of the best ways to help your reader understand the scene you set before them. You have five senses. Your reader has five senses. Use them all. Don’t just allow them to understand the scene. Allow them to experience it. Below are some examples of sensory words.

Sight: Dark, dingy, gloomy, bright, dazzling, shimmering, twinkling
Touch: Smooth, scratchy, frigid, scalding, fuzzy, rocky, slick
Sound: Screeching, buzzing, chirping, clinking, growling, jangling,
thumping
Taste: Bitter, sweet, buttery, zesty, spicy, tart, crispy
Smell: Musty, foul, floral, piney, smokey, acrid

3. Include anecdotes, similes, and metaphors. Especially when writing nonfiction, anecdotes are helpful. An anecdote is just a short narrative about a real incident that helps to drive home your point. In the world of preaching, we call them illustrations.

A simile is a comparison of two things using the words “like” or “as.” For example, “The rain flooded the streets like an ocean.” A metaphor is like a simile but without the use of “like” or “as”.  We could say, “The sound of the rain was music to my ears.” We compare the flooded streets to an ocean. We compare the sound of rain to music.

It may make things a little more difficult, but I believe developing description will be time well spent. 

That concludes another Wednesday. I hope yours is as great as I’m planning mine to be. See you next week.

WFK

What a Character!

Another Wednesday – so let’s get to it.

First, the weather report from Central Pennsylvania. It’s a chilly 6 degrees and slightly overcast. Snow still covers the ground from last week’s storm. Typical Pennsylvania weather for January, but never fear. April is coming! Okay, now on to our thoughts for the day.

A great story doesn’t happen without great characters. Whether you are an outliner or a pantser, you must have well-defined characters. If you are into outlining, perhaps the best way to get to know and develop your character is by interviewing him/her. Dig into their backstory, future dreams, what makes them tick. If you’re a pantser, your protagonist will naturally reveal himself as you write, but he still must be well-developed.

Regardless of which way you go, be sure your character is flawed and imperfect. Perfect characters have no place in fiction. The obstacles she faces should change her but not perfect her. The more challenges he faces, the better. Only the toughest challenges and seemingly insurmountable odds transform characters and compel readers to care.

What drives fiction is conflict. Make sure there is plenty of it – and make sure there is no easy way out for your main character. Make the odds almost insurmountable, but in the end, he must overcome them and win.

Just some things to think about as you write. Let me know your thoughts and I’ll see you next week.

WFK

What’s the Plan?

Pennsylvania is experiencing the heaviest snowfall of the year – so far. The white stuff is beautiful, but traveling is terrible – just another year in the making. With that being said, it’s time to get busy and plan your year, if you haven’t already. Let’s look at three areas that might help.

Analyze Last Year’s Goals

Think about last year’s goals. Did you plan on writing a novel? Maybe starting a blog was on the list last year. Maybe something you wanted to edit.

Now, what did you actually accomplish? What goals did you meet? What still needs work? Maybe you can write a dozen drafts in a year, but you take much longer to edit. Or maybe you can edit a dozen novels, but in writing them, you proceed much slower. Use last year’s goals and accomplishments as a kind of roadmap to get you where you need to be in the coming year. Play to your strengths and give yourself lots of time and patience for tasks you know will cost you more.

Step Down Your Goals (Just a Little)

I know that sounds counter-productive, but think where the past two years have taken us. Our world has changed dramatically (thanks or no thanks to COVID), and it’s necessary to reexamine how we accomplish things. It’s a brand new ball game with new rules which affect almost all we do.

Lowering your goals just a bit may help you adjust. You can always overachieve if the goals are too low. It may mean being willing to write a first draft rather than deliver an entire novel in print by the end of the year.

It may also mean setting smaller goals along the way to reaching bigger goals. You may still get that novel completed, but it may mean fewer words per day or week. These in-between steps matter as much as the ultimate goal. Break the goal into steps you can handle and complete. Don’t get overwhelmed. That’s a sure way to miss the mark.

Plan for Breaks

Like it or not – or believe it or not, breaks are important. Nobody is exempt from the possibility of burnout. Save yourself the trouble and intentionally plan to have a week off here and there. The necessity of taking a break is real, but also, it might inspire you to work harder as you look forward to the break.

You will need to allow room in your schedule for unplanned breaks. Emergencies happen frequently, and they don’t a;ways pick a good time to occur. You need to have space in your overall schedule to allow for them.

Regardless of what you schedule. You just need to schedule. With nothing planned, very little will be accomplished. You know the old saying, “Aim at nothing, and you will hit nothing.”

Well, there you have it. See you next Wednesday.

WFK

Conflict

Welcome to my Wednesday, the first of 2022. I hope you have had a great start to the new year and my best to you in the weeks to come. Let’s get started on this week’s topic – Conflict.

Without conflict, your story is doomed to boredom. It’s conflict that drives the plot and keeps your reader reading. Conflict creates tension, and tension keeps the pages turning.

Use both internal and external conflict. Internal conflict takes place within your character as he fights his own demons and self-doubt. External conflict is simply the obstacle or challenge your character faces.

Let me briefly mention fives areas of conflict to consider as you create.

Man vs. Self – although the battle takes place within, it is usually caused by something from without. Perhaps your normally honest protagonist can only accomplish his goal by dishonesty and/or manipulation. How does that play out?

Man vs. Man – you do not always need to involve physical interaction in this type of conflict, but the resulting conflict will be protagonist against antagonist.

Man vs. Nature – think deserted islands, jungles, wild animals, sweltering heat, etc.

Man vs. Society – this type of conflict pits a character against his government, the police, the military, or some other powerful force — including social norms. It’s usually most effective when Society is personified by a specific villain.

Man vs. Supernatural – consider conflict with vampires, werewolves, aliens or wizards in fantasy, science-fiction or horror stories.

Okay. Experiment. Let me know what you come up with, and I’ll see you next week!

WFK

The Conversation is Dangling

When it comes to writing, there are many ways to accomplish the purpose. Song writing is just one of them. This week, I’d to examine the depth of one song written by Paul Simon over a half century ago – The Dangling Conversation. It has since been recorded by other artists as well, but no one has ever touched on the brilliance of the original.

There is an art to writing poetry and lyrics, and Paul Simon has fine-tuned his ability into this song of sorrow and remorse. His use of figurative language stands with some of the greats.He paints with words a detailed picture of a failing relationship – no doubt something most of us can identify with. Somehow, the story takes on a life of its own in this, The Dangling Conversation.

It was during the folk-rock period of the late 60s and early 70s that Paul Simon, along with Art Garfunkel, rose to fame.

It was the release of The Graduate in 1967 that catapulted them to stardom. The movie contained the hits Mrs. Robinson, and Scarborough Fair/Canticle.

We remember songs like The Sounds of Silence, The Boxer, Bridge over Troubled Water, and others, but few have heard of The Dangling Conversation, much less paid attention to the message.

The story deals with the crumbling relationship between a couple, perhaps husband and wife. The hopes of early life have dwindled into the past and leaves in its place loneliness and regret.

Let’s analyze the lyrics to this classic.

It’s a still-life watercolor
As the sun shines through the curtain lace
And shadows wash the room
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference
Like shells upon the shore You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
The borders of our lives

And you read your Emily Dickinson
And I my Robert Frost
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm
Couplets out of rhyme In syncopated time
And the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
Are the borders of our lives

Yes, we speak of thing that matter
With words that must be said
Can analysis be worthwhile?
Is the theater really dead?
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow
I cannot feel your hand
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
In the borders of our lives ~Paul Simon (©1966 Paul Simon Music)

Simon mentions in the first verse that he is observing a still-life watercolor of late afternoon. His description of still-life is fitting as the relationship has come to a standstill. Watercolors in comparison to oils tend to run and fade. The couple’s lives has begun to run in different directions and hope fades into the late afternoon.

As the day is divided into three sections – morning, afternoon, and evening, we see that we are approaching the end of the day or the end of the relationship. The evening of their relationship has not fallen yet, but time is running out.

The sun which gives light is partially hidden behind a curtain – the end of the play, but yet the curtain hasn’t fallen yet. Shadows of past lives still linger hoping to salvage whatever might be left.

The couple still share a common habit – that of drinking coffee; we sit and drink OUR coffee. But yet they’re both couched in indifference. What could be a time of intimate communication is reduced to neither one caring to take a step toward healing.

They’re couched in their indifference like the shells of the seashore. One shell is completely oblivious to the others although they share common ground. Likewise, the two, although sharing the common ground of drinking a coffee, are not connected in any way.

Simon uses the line, “you can hear the ocean roar,” and fits it neatly between two statements. The shells are close enough to hear the ocean roar, but yet they are not in the waters that give life. On the other hand, you can hear the ocean roar in the dangling conversation that is marked by superficial sighs and seals off the borders that neither one can pass.

Verse Two

Again, reference is made to a shared interest – that of poetry. Poetry could have been a good connecting hobby for the couple, but even in their mutual interest of poetry they disagreed. She liked Emily Dickinson. He favored Robert Frost. Even though both poets were from New England, their lives were very different, just as the couple’s lives had become very different.

Simon uses the symbolism of the book marker to measure what was lost. The intimacy that both needed was sacrificed on the altar of self and independence. They themselves became a poorly written poem of life, not rhyming, and walking out of step with each other. To emphasize this point, Art Garfunkel sings the line in a syncopated rhythm on the recording. Their relationship has deteriorated to nothing more than dangling conversations and superficial sighs.

Verse Three

Now the sun of the late afternoon has disappeared. Evening is approaching. The end is near. She’s not there for him. He can only kiss her shadow. He cannot feel her hand as he once did. He must face what he knew all along. Their lives have been lost in the dangling conversation and superficial sighs. The borders of their lives have been set, and they can go no further - and neither shall we. Have a great new year. See you next week!

WFK

To Kill a Pastor

Well, it’s Wednesday again. The older I get, the faster time passes. Another year is about to end. Can you believe it? Since time is running out, let’s get to it.

Where do your ideas for stories come from? Last week we talked about you, the author, hidden in the characters you create. Let’s consider real life in a story line. I think I’ll title my next book, To Kill a Pastor. What I’m about to share is not fiction, but it certainly could create some fictional what ifs.

A year and a half ago, a man became unruly at our church and unfortunately had to be removed. That is never pleasant for me, but sometimes it is necessary. He stalked my family, and eventually we needed to get a restraining order against him.

During the past three weeks, he broke that order three times. He acted out (hopefully) for the last time this past Sunday.

In the middle of our church service at Lifegate, he attempted to enter the church toting two handguns calling for my death. The men of the church quickly secured the doors as I called 911. Within minutes, the police arrived, disarmed him, and arrested him.

To be honest, the situation angers me, but I also feel sorry for the man. There are mental issues that have never been dealt with. What makes the mind succumb to such unreasonable actions? What if he succeeded? What if, in the end, his own demons attacked him? What if this was only the beginning of a murderous rampage? What if? What if? What if?

Fortunately, nobody was injured or killed. Everything worked out, but the scenarios are practically endless. Take your life events. Dress them up in some fancy what if clothes and go for it.

I better get going. Next Wednesday will be here before we know it.

WFK