Writers Tool Box: The Balancing act.

You can read like that?
You can read like that? Kacie Posing with my book.

How long do you have to read a book before you get into it?

      If you have the attention span of a mosquito, like my self, it needs to be fast. In a world of a million plus books on Amazon all with one hundred plus five star reviews, saying, “This is the best book ever!” it can be quite hard to find the right book.

Writing cliff hangers can be tough if you like to go on and on about details that may or may not move the story forward. I use these quick tips when writing, to cut out the fluff, keep my rants to a minimum and basically ‘shut up and bring it on.’

  • Your story is a freight train: When a train goes speeding down the track it is always going somewhere, unless it flies off the rails. Keep excessive details, pet-axes to grind and pontificating to a minimum other wise you risk loosing your audience. Keep the story moving forward. Ask your self at the end of each chapter or page “Where is this train going?”

Example: You are describing how the protagonist has to diffuse a bomb that will release an alien virus into the world. But you are really into antiques. You prattle on for pages about the antiques in the room, or some other distracting thing. Stay on the rails.

  • Lead them along like a kitten chasing a string: Giving readers just enough information to make them want to turn the page like a junkie looking for a syringe. At the end of each page I ask my self “why should I read this?” There is always a tease that there is more to come. TV shows are brilliant at leading you along, largely because of commercials. Your chapter endings are your commercials.

Example: in Silver Lead and Dead I have a war between the drug cartels and a shadowy Mercenary group hired to stop them, but within each respective group I have splinters and factions fighting for their own agendas. Every time you under stand the motivation of one group you see how it will effect it’s opposite. “Oh they are not going to like that.

  • Bad things always happen in threes: One of my favorite shows is 24, mainly because it was written by people like my self who would make a Jack Russell on caffeine tired. Lots of threads happening at the same time are great as long as the above-mentioned rules can accelerate the pace and drama of a story. As a rule I always have three small plots and or crisis’s going on at once in the big picture narrative.


The resident became pale, he knew he was out of his comfort zone, “Page someone! Is Dr. Hansen here yet?”

“Called three times not answering. I’ll get some help!” The nurse motioned for the medic to make the call.

Three quick pops in succession followed by screams erupted from  the waiting room. The entire ER staff to paused.

“What the?”

“Code white! We got an active shooter!”

That’s when the fire alarm went off.

IN conclusion, we all have our style and techniques, and know when to use them. Different tools for different jobs. I would love to hear any devices or tricks that you use in your own writing. You can plug your book if you want, just give a good example.

I would like to thank ‘Yoga Instructor Extraordinaire’ Kacie Pinder Ballard and her husband for the awesome yoga pose above with my book!

Sign up for my blog and visit me at www.jamesgarmischbooks.com


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