Writing analysis: Blue Roses, by Francis Hwang

Review of “Blue Roses” by Francis Hwang Published in “The New Yorker” November 1, 2010. SUMMARY: Chinese mother feels that her children don’t appreciate her and take from her without giving in return. She becomes angry with her closest daughter when the daughter is unwilling to invite the mother’s widowed friend to Christmas dinner. The mother refuses to go to the dinner, causing a crisis in the family. She admits […]

Analyzing writing

I was a music composition major in university and one of the things that my composition teacher required was score reading. Score reading means to take a bit of a string quartet or orchestral work and be able to play a reduction of it at the piano regardless whether you are a pianist or not. And in theory classes we analyzed music looking at the formal structure, root elements such […]

NaNoWriMo reflections

I want to take a few moments to reflect on this year’s NaNoWriMo event before I put it to bed for a while. I plan to come back and revise and edit, but I want some distance before I try. btw, the opening is published on Smashwords if you’re interested. This was much more difficult and time consuming than the first novel. I think that is a function of a […]

NaNoWriMo novel, done

Well, it’s done. I only hit just over 45,000 words, but it’s done. I’ve hit the story targets; the characters had their representative scenes, the plot had its required scenes, the story is told. There’s still 5 days left so the plan is to do some rewriting and editing and keep both the new and old versions as part of the word count. Other people have suggested writing additional scenes […]

End of writing class

As of last night I finished the beginner writing night course that I had been taking, and I feel a sense of relief. Where does the relief come from? From aspects of the course that I didn’t enjoy, like listening to, rather than reading things that other people in the class wrote and then trying to critique. I find that translation of hearing to imagined reading difficult and would much […]

NaNoWriMo at the half way point

This year has been tough. For my first NaNoWriMo I came up with a characteristic that I wanted to investigate (creativity), applied different versions to have three different characters (recombining, unorthodox, people skills) and then figured out a way that the three would have some connection to each other (famous artist returning to birth city, daughter of gallery owner, son of gallery owner) and then let my protagonist work her […]


As of late my writing has been shaped by 1) the basic writing class that I’m taking, and 2) now the start of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo takes priority. Two years ago I wrote a romance novel that has some good stuff in it; I still need to tie up some loose ends in the plot and also do a thorough editing for weak writing and errors, but at some point I […]

Characterization exercise: Mother of a murderer

Carol sits at her dining room table, her right forearm resting on the table, hand wrapped around a tumbler half full of merlot. She’s leaning forward, elbows supporting her, almost oblivious to the cigarette in her left hand. Her expression is fixed, and she moves only to take another sip of wine, or a breath of her cigarette, or to tap ashes into the crystal bowl that other people might […]

Bob (characterization excercise)

Bob had worked in sales for years. He and his three co-workers had kept the organization going, kept it moving. They were the ones who enabled the company to reach its goals, each and every time. The city was divided into four sections and together the four of them covered it all, out on the road, always working together. Sometimes they might rotate, to keep things fresh, but like pallbearers […]