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Common Problems of Beginning Writers . . . and Useful Tips to Solve Them

103 pages1 hour


This book, Common Problems of Beginning Writers . . . and Useful Tips to Solve Them, is crammed with practical tips to improve the writing of almost any serious writer. Jimmie told writers in his classes on the subject at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference—and tells readers of this book—that applying these tips can make them better writers immediately. His casual style in providing the information is much like he taught on hundreds of evenings sitting around in critique groups and trying to help others become better writers.
Jimmie’s background as a combat pilot had trained him to focus on the practical instead of the academic or philosophical. A personal guideline developed during his flying career was that philosophy was okay, but he was more interested in learning practical tips that might help him get an aircraft back under control before it hit the ground. A key was to learn from experienced pilots and other aircrew members.
A brief look at the table of contents reveals topics a list of subjects that as an experienced writer, he believes aspiring writers need to master to be successful.
Categories of Major Common Problems
-----Dialogue Problems
-----Problems Handling Point of View (POV)
-----Problems with Openings
-----Writers Fail to Keep Readers in Mind
-----Many Writers Can’t Describe their Books Succinctly

He explains the “why” behind such problems, so writers can better understand when to follow the “rules,”—and when to break a “rule.” Examples of “how-to” and “how-not-to” are sprinkled liberally through the book to clearly illustrate points being taught. Perhaps more interestingly, he asks questions about the craft of writing that most aspiring writers never knew they needed to ask. And he provides the useful tips to answer the questions, thereby giving readers the opportunity to elevate the level of their writing.
Jimmie became a serious writer of fiction in the 1980s. He bought scores of books on writing—many by successful professionals— and analyzed such books to discover practical tips that could improve his writing. Out of a book of 200 pages, he might pick out 4 or 5 useful concepts to add to his extensive collection of notes and references. Those concepts were further refined through his study with professionals.
If he had come across Common Problems of Beginning writers, he would have picked practical tips from almost every page.
He began evening classes at the University of Southern California in 1983, while still an active-duty colonel in the US Air Force. At USC, he met Paul Gillette as a professor of a class in 1984. He continued in Paul’s Workshop for Professional Writers for several years. Jimmie’s thesis project for his 1989 Master of Professional Writing degree was a techno thriller titled, The Iskra Incident. Iskra was his first published novel, selling more than 5,000 hardcover copies and more than 140,000 copies in the paperback edition. The Iskra Incident earned the 1991 Award of Excellence for Aviation Fiction from the Aviation/Space Writers Association.
In 1993 Jimmie founded the highly successful Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs and was the Conference Director for the first 5 years. He focused the curriculum each year on the conference’s goal of providing “Useful Tips for Writing Commercial Fiction.”
During his years of being active in the writing community, he judged around 200 contest entries, ran a critique group for 20+ years, critiqued more than 2,500 manuscript segments, headed up writers groups in California and Colorado, spoke at various conferences and writers meetings, contributed to newsletters for writers, and taught a private 24-hour course on Writing Commercial Fiction.
He has the practical experience to know a lot of what works and what doesn’t. By the time you finish reading Common Problems of Beginning Writers, you will have a better mastery of those subjects, as

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