Tag Archives: United States

Deepest Sorrow

Boston MarathonPanhandle Professional Writers would like to take this opportunity to express our West_Texas_by_Pwndejodeepest sorrow to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and the West, Texas fertilizer plant disaster.

Our hearts are with you all as you heal from these horrible events.  Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for each of you.

In posting this blog I have chosen not to attach photos of these two events and instead displayed more iconic images to represent the spirit of the people.  We have all seen the images of the tragedies.  They are emblazoned on our souls like the many others this country has experienced in the past, both man-made and natural.

Let us focus on what is good rather than dwell on the sadness.  Let us not seek to blame any religion or political beliefs for what happened in Boston, but only the two who committed this unforgivable act of cowardice.

Let us remember those in both cities who have lost their lives or been forever changed by these events.

Suzanne Bogue



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New eBook on Plotting

From time to time I have recommended various books on writing, and shared the wisdom of some of the great writers.  I don’t know or pretend to pass judgment on the wisdom or fame of Aaron Allston, but I can say that his new book on plotting is worth the money and the time to read.  It includes basics on plotting for the beginning writer and insight into solving plotting problems for the seasoned writer.

Allston is the son of a local journalist, Tom Allston, who wrote for the Pampa newspaper as well as the Amarillo Globe-News.  I hope you like the book.

Aaron Allston Releases Plotting: A Novelist‘s Workout Guide
New York Times bestselling novelist Aaron Allston has released his first full-length nonfiction work in e-book form.
Plotting: A Novelist’s Workout Guide describes the craft of plotting novels. In the book, Allston provides methods for creating scenes, determining the meaning and functions of story events, shaping plots and sub-plots, developing character arcs and themes, fixing plot problems, and writing outlines. Also included are numerous writing exercises and Blood Kin, a complete outline for a novel, demonstrating the plotting process from initial concept to finished proposal.Plotting ebook


Title: Plotting: A Novelist’s Workout Guide

Price: &9.99 USD

Publisher: ArcherRat Publishing (www.archerrat.com)

Length: 120,000 words

Central Texas native Aaron Allston, who has 25 years’ professional experience as a fiction writer, is best known for his work in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. His bibliography includes 22 novels and numerous pieces of short fiction released by traditional publishers such as Del Rey Books, Baen Books, Tor Books, and Bantam Books, and digital publishers including WordFire Press. ArcherRat Publishing, publisher of Plotting: A Novelist’s Workout Guide, is Allston’s digital self-publishing line.
With colleague Michael A. Stackpole, Allston has for years taught the Inner Circle Writers’ Seminars at venues across the United States. Their next teaching appearance, in association with acclaimed science fiction author Timothy Zahn, will be as guest lecturers at Arizona State University.
Plotting: A Novelist’s Workout Guide is available from:

For additional information, please e-mail Aaron Allston at allston@aaronallston.com.

Check this book out if you like.  List some of the books you’ve already read on the subject of plotting that have helped you solve your plotting troubles.


Filed under basics, character arcs, exercises, organizing, plot, techniques, writing advise

In Honor of Black History Month

Black History MonthThe month of February is Black History month.  I did a little research to find out more about some of the African-American writers who deserve to be honored this month.

We are all familiar with writers, such as Terry McMillan author of Waiting to Exhale (1992); and Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Prize winner and author of Beloved (1987) for which she won a Pulitzer Prize. The list also includes such writers as Alex Haley whose book Roots:  The Saga of an American Family (1976) was adapted to a popular television mini-series in 1977.

But the list of African-American writers of note not only includes these famous individuals and those such as poets Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou as well as novelist Alice Walker; it also includes more obscure names–people whose works you might have read and not realized that they were African-American.Black History month in books

Frank Yerby was an historical novelist best known as the first African-American writer to become a millionaire from his pen, and to have a book purchased by a Hollywood studio for a film adaptation.  The book, The Foxes of Harrow (1946) became the Oscar-nominated film “Foxes” starring Rex Harrison and Maureen O’Hara.

Samuel R. Delany is an author, professor and literary critic.  His work includes a number of novels, many in the science fiction genre, as well as memoir and criticism.

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) was a Hugo and Nebulla award-winning author of science fiction.

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was the first African-American poet and the first African-American woman to publish a book. Born in Senegambia, she was sold into slavery at the age of 7 or 8 and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.

The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) brought her fame, both in England, and the Thirteen Colonies; figures such as George Washington praised her work. During Wheatley’s visit to England, the African-American poet Jupiter Hammon praised her work in his own poem.

This list is woefully incomplete.  It would take far too much time to list every African-American writer–past and present–whose name deserves inclusion in such a list.  During the month of February I challenge readers to visit the internet or your local library to discover the work of more of the gifted writers whose names belong here and share with PPW what you find.  Who is your favorite?  What genre do they write?

Suzanne Bogue


Filed under Black History, books, genres, poetry, prose, publishing, read, reading, research, short stories, writers

Writing in the Spirit of the Season

Gift 4

During this  season of giving I would mention how wonderful a gift writers have to share their stories with family, community and all readers.   Whatever genre you write, I would ask during this season to give a gift of a short story, poem, or other writing, even if only to family, and consider the subject of patriotism – “devotion to one’s country, national loyalty.”  As citizens we have a privilege and duty of patriotism – whether it is to vote, serve on a jury when called, or just to obey our laws. 

We are very fortunate to have the freedom to write on any topic of our choosing.  We don’t  have to wait for editors or publishers to get works out, available for anyone to read.  We have the freedom for people to agree and disagree with our writing – without “book burnings.”  This and other freedoms we have would not have been possible without the past sacrifices of ancestors and continued commitment to service by firemen, police, military, etc.   We have many wonderful stories of these heroes and new stories are surfacing daily.  We have a growing archive of resources – through the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, county and state histories, reports by military historians, and daily newspaper reports of acts of valor.  We have new perspectives from women in service and naturalized citizens.  A family member, a friend, a neighbor may have a story to share.

I would ask writers to commemorate and perpetuate the spirit and purpose of the extraordinary men and women, past and present, who serve our country and preserve our American heritage so that future generations might continue to live in freedom and peace.

What stories of patriotism do you have to tell?

Donna Otto

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Filed under gifts, memoir, patriotic writings, poetry, prose, season of giving, short stories, story, writers, Writing

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to All from Panhandle Professional Writers!

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Deadline:  “may refer to: time limit(Wikipedia).  Or, from Dictionary.com:

1)      The time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something.

2)      A line or limit that must not be passed.

3)      (Formerly) a boundary around a military prison beyond which a prisoner could not venture without risk of being shot by the guards [1864 Civil War prisons].

My most recent deadline was getting this blog post ready – today.  Historically, I procrastinate and pull together information just making a deadline.  Why? Does my adrenaline kick in and get me going when a deadline gets near? I’m not sure, but the pressure of a deadline does get my creative juices going.

At the latest PPW board meeting the importance of meeting deadlines was brought up.  Being an employee for 20 years at a government agency, I was constantly gifted with “suspense” items (Aha! Another word for deadline).  I never dreamed of not meeting these deadlines.  However, I was provided one deadline/suspense that confused me.  It concerned a matter that I was not responsible for.  When I questioned the suspense I was advised, “We knew if we gave it to you, it would get done, and we thought you could get the information we needed quicker than if we gave the request to the person responsible.”  Another reason I retired . . .

In preparing for this little blog, research revealed Deadline is also:

­ An American western film

­ A horror film

­ A war drama

­ A Swedish thriller

­ A fictional villain

­ A British Comics magazine

­ A British drama

­ An American TV series

­ A video game

­ A computer game

­ An on-line entertainment news magazine

­ An American rock band

­ An American punk band

­ And the title of several novels

If you have tips for meeting deadlines (using suspense/tickler files, keeping a detailed calendar, stacking your deadline items in order of their due dates, etc.), please share these with your fellow writers (Perhaps in an article for the PPW Newsletter?).

For writers, deadlines mean getting paid for their work by fulfilling contracted deadline requirements for their books or articles.  It could mean losing that contract or missing the publication date for a periodical and your article not making it in.  This is a writer‘s bread and butter.  One either meets the deadline and gets paid and acquires a positive reputation, or the writer’s reputation becomes one of being hard to work with or unreliable.  That means it will be harder for the writer to earn a living and eventually it will mean not being able to sell his/her work.

If you have trouble meeting deadlines, or try to avoid some you do have, I challenge you (I’ll leave it to others to threaten you) to set a deadline of OCTOBER 15 to finish any project you’ve left undone.  Then let us know how you accomplished your goal.  If you’re good at meeting deadlines, tell us how you do it.

Donna Otto




Filed under Writing

Remembering September 11, 2001

In Panhandle Professional Writers we strive to keep our blog free of religious and political slants.  We are people of vastly varied backgrounds and represent the same diversity of viewpoints as are represented in any average American city.  But today is one of those days it can’t be avoided.  So I will keep the comments brief and relevant to writing.

When I think of this tragic day I have trouble referring to it as 911.  The meaning of what took place on this day somehow loses its importance to me.  September 11, 2001 however, is a date I hope the world remembers forever.

For me it’s like November 22, 1963 the date of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Older Americans can add to these memories dates such as December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor day, or the October, 1929 crash of Wall Street.  All these are important dates in American history.  Days we personally remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at the time.

As writers, we have an unspoken obligation to our readers.  Whether you write nonfiction or fiction; if you are writing a story taking place during that time and want to include this date as part of the back drop or in the viewpoint of your characters, or simply to write an account of that day from your own perspective, please remember this:  You can put your character’s personal slant to the subject in fiction, but the account of historical events should be accurate.

Do your research, don’t count on personal memory.  Even the best of us can confuse the details, especially when recalling an event that held such extreme emotion for all Americans.  So do the research to get the facts right.  Your words will last forever.  There are many young readers throughout the world who will not have an understanding of that day.  Their knowledge will be gleaned from what history books and even fiction set in that time period tells them.

This is how I intend to honor the memory of all who lost their lives on that day, by accurately depicting the events and giving voice to all those who lost theirs on that tragic date.

How will you, as a writer, memorialize September 11, 2001?

*Photo courtesy USAfederalholiday.com

Suzanne Bogue

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Filed under characters, description, reading, Writing