Tag Archives: tears

What’s in a Word Anyway?

What’s in a Word Anyway
How the English Language Can Kill Writing

English: Spógvin is a Faroese wooden row boat....

Corn field

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a farmer used his farm to produce produce. One day there was a row among the hired help as to which row to hoe. The row about which row to hoe got so bad he had to let them all go. So they all went to the river and got in a row about how to row the boat.

illustration from a book of fairy tales

Back at the farm, to help with planting, the farmer decided to put his pigs to work and so he taught his sow to sow. Things went real well with the sow that knew how to sow the seed until a bore came along and she started to rut with the bore in the rut along side the road. When she started to rut in the rut alongside the road her squealing startled the dove that dove into the bushes.

About that time the wind came up and when the farmer tried to wind up the canvas cover over the haystack the wind put several tears in the cover and that brought tears to his eyes. The wind was just starting to die down when one of the hired hands came back and the farmer thought he could teach him to lead if he could just get the lead out. But the man had been wounded on the row about how to row and so the farmer wound a bandage around the wound. After the bandage was wound around the wound the farmer sent the hired man to take the refuse to the dump, but the dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

 – The End –

Now I ask you, how can anyone write understandable material when you discover that you have a nose that runs and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few mean the same thing.

And here’s a scorcher/chiller; how can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

I just don’t know. I just don’t know, but I will keep trying to write readable material. Why don’t you look inside some of my books and let me know if I succeeded. You have a lot to choose from. There are mysteries, adventure and right now I’m trying my hand at science fiction.

Thank you, and May Only Good Come Your Way.


To learn more about me or look inside some of my books click here.

S&FL FrntI have signed a contract for another novel with Second Wind Publishing. The title is, A Short and Futile Life. Have no idea when it will be released, but you can bet your sweet boots I’ll let you know when I know.

It is a near future novel about life in the United States when most, if not all, the personal rights stated and the Bill of Rights have been revoked for the good of the whole.


churchstepsThe mystery Body On the Church Steps is now available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.


Final MSS Cover front


Murder Sets Sail is available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Another of Paul’s books, The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now also available as an audiobook.

Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.

Copyright © 2014 by Paul J. Stam
All rights reserved


Filed under writing

Embracing Emotion

There is a wide range of basic emotions, including anger, aversion, courage, dejection, desire, despair, fear, hate, hope, love, sadness, disgust, joy, surprise, happiness, interest, wonder, sorrow, rage, terror, anxiety, contempt, distress, guilt shame, grief, elation, subjection, pain, pleasure, expectancy, panic.

Then there are a whole slew of secondary emotions such as curiosity, dread, tenseness, uneasiness, worry, alarm, fright, horror, mortification, shock, terror, amusement, ecstasy, bliss, elation, delight, jubilation, enthusiasm, excitement, exhilaration, fondness, attraction, adoration, caring, sentimentality, melancholy, despair, gloom, homesickness, embarrassment, humiliation, bitterness, resentment, loathing, hate.

With such a palette of emotion to choose from, every character should come alive, yet all too often the emotions that drive characters in books are the heavy hitters: fear and anger (thrillers) and lust (romance).

Perhaps this dearth of emotion is a holdover from the strong silent hero, the one who never showed emotion. Now that female characters have largely taken over the role of hero, they seem to be just as devoid of emotion, as if they are male characters disguised as female. I’m not advocating weak and emotional women characters, but still, tears (for example) are a part of human behavior and a way to express emotion. Besides, tears are not about weakness, but about releasing tension, so technically, a character who cries is as strong as a character who picks fights to relieve tension — though perhaps not quite as interesting to today’s readers.

When writers do let their characters get emotional, all too often the sentiment comes across as an artificial construct that has nothing to do with either the character or the story, but simply added to evoke empathy from readers. Yet for these strong feelings to come across as real and for the characters to come alive with grief or elation, hope or bitterness, love or hate, the emotions have to be an integral part of the story. In an emotional state, people often act differently — those falling in love behave irrationally at times (because, after all, love does appear to be an irrational state). Also, in an emotional state, people often see things differently — lovers become finely attuned to the object of their love and to the sight of others in love. A story needs to reflect this change of perspective. What was once important is no longer, for example, the executive who decides to chuck it all when she falls in love. This might be trite, but at least it shows emotion in action.

And emotion is action. By embracing emotion, the character does something, goes through a change, finds a resolution. It doesn’t matter if the emotion is upbeat or downbeat, positive or negative — the effect is the same.

So don’t be afraid of emotion, either yours or your character’s.


Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fire,  and Daughter Am I.

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Filed under life, Pat Bertram, writing