Talking to experts

In the next few months I plan to talk to a friend about a pivotal part of my novel Randy and Rhonda. It has to do with selling books. I’ll leave it at that.

I’m also hoping to talk to another subject matter expert. Sorry, but I’d rather not give any details.

I read once that Alex Haley spent about 12 years researching Roots before writing it. So, along those lines, you have to research. Yes, fiction is fiction, but if there’s not a healthy sense of realism, a great psychological thriller (one of my favorite genres) becomes comical and campy.

Richard Zowie loves to write fiction. Post comments here or e-mail them to

Writing out of sequence–blasphemy or bold?

In my fiction writing, I am working on two projects: a novel called Randy and Rhonda (a Christian romance that has some frank looks at relationships and sex and how some Christians prefer isolation over insulation) and a thriller/suspense short story called Garth, Texas.

In both, I hit snags where I didn’t know what to write. Especially in the novel, since part of it deals with a segment of America that I know very little about (I’d rather not say what at this point, except that a friend is trying to set things up for me to interview someone from there). So, what to do?

Write out of sequence.

A friend who studied broadcasting at college told me that movies are very seldom shot in sequence. Sometimes the very first scene to be filmed is one of the movie’s final scenes. In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the opening scene where they drive to the restaurant in the morning was one of the very last filmed. And, I understand that the opening rig scene in Armageddon was actually the final scene filmed.

Why not do the same with creative writing?

So, I do this in the novel and will probably do so in the short story: if you hit a snag in the story, skip over the scene and write later scenes. Perhaps somewhere down the road the creative juices will flow and you can fill in the gaps.

Richard Zowie is a writer. Post comments here or e-mail them to

What I’m up to as a writer (besides 5’8″)

Actually, I’m probably around 5’7.5″. I was measured as short as 5’6.75″ in the Army and as tall as 5’9″. The last time I was the doctor’s office they measured me at 5’8″.

To quote that great dimunitive major league baseball player John Cangelosi, “It sounds taller”.

When I was a lad, John Cangelosi reminded me of the dimunitive British pop star Leo Sayer. (Don’t ask).

Back to the ranch…

Saturday, I will meet with at least one potential freelance writing client. It would be a quid-pro-quo instead of a financial agreement, which would still work well. Once I have more details I will share them with you.

I plan to resume work soon on my novel Randy and Rhonda. These days, it seems far more autobiographical than ever. Sorry, but I would rather not share details yet of what it’s about. I think I have a great idea and would like to keep it classified for the moment. I did, though, send the first few chapters to a college friend.

Richard Zowie is a professional writer. Post comments here or e-mail them to

Breaking through writer’s block as I work on my novel, ‘Randy and Rhonda’

For me as a writer, it is very frustrating to have writer’s block. You have a great idea, write scores of pages and then hit a slump where you don’t know what happens next.

Stephen King, in his book On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft, tells of having to take a hiatus from his epic novel The Stand because he had accidentally twisted together several plot lines and didn’t know what happened next.

I am working on several fictional works, and last night I wrote about 1,000 words on my novel Randy and Rhonda. Here is what I can say: it is a Christian love story that has some frank discussions about sex and how many Christians do not know what “True Christianity” is. As I have written about 30 pages, I hit a snag.

And as I thought, I realized I could write this novel the way so many movies are made: out of sequence.

James Cameron said in an interview that the opening scene in The Terminator was actually one of the last scenes he filmed. It’s been said that John Dugan, who played Grandpa in the 1974 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, disliked so much the process of wearing make-up to look like an old man that he requested both of his scenes be filmed back-to-back, even though they don’t take place until about halfway in the film and then towards the end. Though it reportedly took about 36 straight hours, his request was granted.

As I thought about this, I wondered, why not do the same thing in novel writing? 

So, last night I wrote several chapters ahead. I may also continue doing this as I try to work out my current snag. My plan is that as I piece later parts of the puzzle together, I will have a better idea how to write the current part where I am struggling.

We’ll see what happens.

Richard Zowie is a writer. Post comments here or e-mail them to

Writer’s Block strikes me again. Grrr!

I am currently working on a few short stories, most notably a Twilight Zone-style fantasy thriller tentatively titled Garth, Loving County, Texas. Then there are two books I’m working on: a Christian thriller The Game Show and a Christian romance novel Randy and Rhonda. All three of these are really good stories, but I’ve run into the same problem with each.

I have no idea what happens next.

It’s an annoying case of writer’s block as I try to ascertain what happens next.

I’ve also found it an excessive challenge to keep my blogs updated. Am I just hitting a dry spell where I don’t have the energy to write?

As of this writing (October 28), I have about six unpublished blog postings.

I can think of two things I’ll have to do: re-read that essay by Lois Duncan on Writer’s Block and consult with a former creative writing teacher of mine.

Richard Zowie tries to stay busy in his writing life and believes it’s far better to be busy than unemployed. Post comments here or e-mail him at

Working on a novel, ‘Randy and Rhonda’

At least, that’s the working title.

At this stage, since I’ve only written about 10,000 words, all I’d like to say at this point is that Randy and Rhonda has strong Christian overtones. Some of the subject matter, though, will probably mean Christian publishers will reject it.

It’s a tale about forgiveness, healing and an exploration into what I like to call “True Christianity”.

At this point, that is all I will publicly say about it except to give updates on how things are going.

Richard Zowie tries to stay busy in his writing life and believes it’s far better to be busy than unemployed. Post comments here or e-mail him at