· Down the Rabbit Hole · I've traveled down many rabbit holes before completing a first draft of a book. The trip down the black hole always begins innocently enough, with nothing but good intentions: I believe I need to get enough useful background on a topic before I can start the story. But there are inherent risks in entering a rabbit hole. Once you start on the path, it can become disorienting, deranging, and difficult to turn around. In my research on the Guna tribe of Panama, … [Read more...] about A Writer’s Rabbit Hole
Behind the Books Blog
· Read and Travel · If you write fiction, have you created a place for your characters to hang out? Writing is a combination of reading, travel, and imagination. Research and fact-checking are crucial. If you've used a travel guide or app, then your readers depend on you, the writer, to be accurate with locations and recommendations. If you write non-fiction, then consider the impact on others if they follow your advice about exotic tours, five-star restaurants, and comfortable … [Read more...] about Research in Writing
· Death and Dying · Whether it's non-fiction, memoir or fiction, for me, writing about death is the ultimate mood swing. Having a dark chapter (or two) gives the reader a taste of the highs and lows of life. Without the lows, the highs aren't as high. In Cop in the Classroom, I recall a couple of on-duty deaths that just tore me up inside. I expose the reader to my pain while attempting to answer a student's serious question. Here is the introduction to one death in a chapter titled: … [Read more...] about My Darkest Chapter
· Getting Started · First, I decided to write about my career in law enforcement. In the beginning of my process, I thought about making it a "How to" manual for becoming a cop. I'd tell about my wife spotting the job opening in our local newspaper's want ads; I'd inform the reader about the application and interview phase, me getting hired, and going to the police academy. Then I'd explore the multitude of types of cases a police officer investigates, from writing traffic tickets to … [Read more...] about Writing A Memoir
· Dead End Road · Yesterday morning we received a phone call from a country neighbor. "Have you been down to your mailbox yet?" she asked. "No," I replied. "Well, if you can get down here, you can see that someone's run over our newspaper tubes. They look as flat as a pancake. A sheriff's deputy left his business card in our mailboxes." "We'll be down," I said and hung up. As we approached the dirt road intersection, we saw the downed newspaper racks and one white mailbox on the ground. … [Read more...] about Expand On Your Experiences
· Tom Jennings is a HUGE Character! · Here's a brief blog on writing. This one's about creating fictional characters. I use character driven literary fiction as my vehicle to address stigma, identity, and self-discovery, but my goal is to entertain the reader, never preach. The process of getting to know my characters is an enjoyable, ongoing experience as I discover the many layers of their personalities. Recently I was asked by a friend if he was in my novel. I smiled, said “no,” … [Read more...] about Character Driven Literary Fiction
· Welcome to my blog! · I'm writing from south-central Kansas. For those of you more familiar with our geography, my wife and I live outside of Hutchinson. It's known as "the Salt City" for the many salt mines that were once active. Kansans know it as the home of the State Fair, the National Junior College Basketball Tournament, and the Cosmosphere & Space Museum. But, I'm not trying to recruit people to move here. Instead I'm excited about sharing stories with you. Future blog posts … [Read more...] about Welcome!