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THE FUN OF WRITING - a writing blog

Story ID:1950
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:OurEcho Community
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Person:Richard L. Provencher
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"The Fun of Writing" © 2007 by Richard L. Provencher
E-mail: richardprov1@netscape.net

My writing combines a love of the outdoors with contemporary issues. I spent so much time hiking and camping in my youth, my dad said, “Be careful you don’t turn into a tree.” My wife, Esther and I, live in beautiful Truro, Nova Scotia.

I’m blessed with a love for words and it’s an honour to be called “an emerging writer” at the young age of 64. Some of my work is in The Dublin Quarterly, The Windsor Review, Poems Neiderngasse, The New Quarterly, Bogg, Jones Ave, Stellar Showcase Journal, Poetry Sky, Scribbulations, Canadian Stories, Quills, Rubicon Publishing, PusonWeb, Southern Ocean Review, and Tower Poetry.

My first Poetry Chapbook “In the Light of Day” is available through Mercutio Press at: www.mercutiopress.com In my mind, writing poetry and stories in all genres is a global adventure, a journey without borders. As a member of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, I am listed on their writer’s website at: www.writers.ns.ca.

I enjoy sharing a view of this world, and look forward to having a full book of poetry published, along with my picture books, juvenile novels and an adult one. So if any publishers, including E-publishers out there contact me at richardprov1@netscape.net


Recently I wrote Scott Lupo, the wonderful creator and producer of OurEcho.com to explain why I deleted my story “Christmas is for Wishing” which had received many ‘hits’ and some wonderful comments, a humble blessing for any writer. And all of my writing: poems and stories is because of God’s Blessing on me, as I continue to recuperate from my stroke in August 1999.

Scott suggested I write some notes and encourage people to write. And to share these notes with OurEcho family. And I will. If he doesn’t mind, and if you think it is worthwhile, I’ll share some of my writing thoughts as a ‘blog’ although ‘blogging’ is not something I’ve really done before. If you feel it worthwhile, you can check in every couple of days, and see what I have added to this adventure in writing. If you get something out of it, let me know. I may not get back to you right away, but will do so eventually, be patient dear writer. Isn’t that what you are—a writer. You have thoughts and ideas to share and it is such fun. So I will begin a few thoughts: (Remember, these are my thoughts gleaned from much pondering, reading, testing, persevering and writing, writing, writing, revising, revising and more revising. Whether or not I become a ‘name’ writer is not important—to write is important.


April 12, 2007
A writer writes. He/she does not talk about it. Wait until the words are complete, then gab all you want. I met fine people with wonderful intentions many years ago who hail me with the same line, “Boy, have I got a novel in me, it’s about…” and UNFORTUNATELY I have to change the subject because the dream seems to be beyond reach for that fine person.

I do not see the need for ANY swear words. I am not interested in writing about ripped skin, bared knuckles, nor eliminating helpless victims. That is for others who wish to do so.

Do not spend too much time, getting the right pen, the perfect corner setting, a comfortable chair, accepting mood, since time is of the essence to get that story/poem onto paper, NOW! Over the past years of my working life, I was as busy-busy as anyone could be. Writing ten minutes before breakfast, five minutes at noon, an hour after work and two hours on the week-end was my regime.

I learned to compress my thoughts, to be triggered later by a key work, it could be “Lion roaring” then when I did get an hour, I wrote as much as a thousand words as quickly as I could move my fingers.

My precious wife, Esther (we’re married 32 years,and still on our honeymoon), used to type my words on the computer, return them to me for corrections, then repeat the process, two, three, ten times. Phew. Yes, writing is fun. AND LOTS OF WORK, BUT FUN!!

If it isn’t FUN, forget it, because you’ll begin to place a price tag on your time, and when you realize it may take two hours to write a poem, or ten hours for a short story, you may say to yourself, “Is it worth it? YES.

Learn to use a typewriter, use Font 12, I like Tahoma print, save your work in RTF, AND Word is the most used in the world, by MOST publishers. I also use 1.25" margins on all four sides of my page. TA TA FOR NOW.


April 14, 2007
So often we may wish to write a novel. It takes many baby steps to get there. I began with poems, maximum fourteen lines, about eight words to a line. When I saw something that inspired or saddened me (poetry is an emotional expression from the soul) I wrote key words, such as “A falling limb…fox watching me…eyes squinting. I tried to get five triggers for a future sit down, since I was always on the go. Write it on a pad. One’s memory is like a computer, but it needs a trigger to open up the passion one felt at the time. With practice the scene can be totally recaptured.

To move to a short story, I took my five ideas from a poem that was written and translated it into five complete sentences, using the actual ideas displayed in the poems. Thus the story, a short short, would be approximately 75-100 words long.

Then the short short story could have five more sentences added to the same story, then five more, then five more, keeping each story totally complete in itself. By revising the same story, colour, taste and feelings emerge from many directions, like a painter placing another coat of passion on his/her scene. Before long you have a 1,000 word story,

I read quite a bit about how other writers wrote a book; Stephen King rattles off 400 pages plus in a steady stream. Remember to be yourself. A Canadian poet, Ray Souster told me one day as we played ball at Humberside Park in Toronto in 1965, “Dick be yourself. There is only one of you and do not copy anyone else’s style.” I must admit I copied Ernest Hemmingway’s style of typing. I stood up for years, typing. Try it, you may like it. What works for you is right.

Pierre Berton, the Canadian writer, said the best advice for me, “Write a scene, or paragraph or chapter that may be in the order of 12, then 2, then 20, then 4 and join them all together. Worked for me. And it may work for you. All the best, from Richard LP.


May 2, 2007
I am very pleased to have written a novel, called "Coming Through the Mist" a fantasy-adventure to be enjoyed by all ages. It's about a father and son who deal with personal issues after the death by car accident, of a mother/wife. I was fishing one day, early spring, amid the slush and late ice breakup when the idea for the story came to me. Then notes (always carry a notepad) were quickly scrabbled on a piece of paper. Key words are important in situations like this.

Words like, sleet, shadows, trees growing taller with each passing moment, stranger, dad, buried beer bottles, etc. They became triggers for my thoughts as I recalled scenes and images after returning home and laying out a one page scenario of what turned into a 19,000 word novel. And now it is available to share with others. $12 Cdn doesn't sound too expensive, does it? Please order a copy. RLP


May 7, 2007
Someone asked me the other day, "Why would anyone read anything I have to say"? I explained, in my way of thinking, there are three stages for writing anything. First, a person writes for oneself, ie through a diary or journal, simply to record evens of a personal nature, not to be shared with anyone.

Secondly, a person is giddy with anticipation when they show someone special in their lives, a poem or statement about a particular day, or person. This is like the first flutterings of young eaglets who are testing the wind, even if mother does pust them out of the nest. But mother also makes sure no harm comes, if the eaglet is in trouble understanding all they have to do is spread their own wings with confidence. Mother eagle catches them if need be and returns them to the family nest.

Third, a person has practiced, edited and created something they feel is beautiful, from previous jottings. And they wish now to enter the public domain. Imagine, they wish to share a view of the world, through their own precious eyes. The subjects may be about dear mother, family or friends, places the family visited, the days of former childhood, or dreams of the future. I truly believe there is no such thing as total fiction. In every story there is a little of the writer taking part in this very satisfying adventure. And onward they move. RLP


May 13, 2007
Today, I finally tried to create a website, and I did. It's very straightforward and the URL is: http://richardprov.tripod.com/ It goes to show you that anything is possible. I remember the days when I had a Remington typewriter and had to pound the keys to make an ink imprint. Then if the fingers moved too quickly the keys would get jumbled. Advice: keep your equipment up to date if possible. Ask questions, take a course at the library (usually no charge) and ask writers what they use and why.


May 19, 2007
Someone asked me recently, "How long does it take to publish a novel?" And my answer is, "Each person is different." It has taken me 45 years since I first thought about it in high school. It has taken me 30 years since I began to dabble with words, such as poems. It has taken me 21 years since I dabbled with longer sentences which ended up as short stories. It has taken me ten years since I actually wrote a first novel of 14,000 words, and began to write in earnest.

I was determined to be a published author of novels, AND I said, "2007 will be my year." I began to pray over all my work, from that moment on. It had nothing to do with ego, rather to share another way to express a view of people and places. I read years ago, "There is nothing new under the sun." And I add, "Only a new set of eyes and a throbbing heart which adds another voice to the adventure of writing.

It has taken me five years to focus on and complete many novels and picture books and now the first of these workings are being published. Yes, each person is different. Willie Nelson once said, "Some people say I am an overnight sensation," after his early songs became mega hits. He added, "It's taken me 20 years to get this far."

To any new writer, I say, "Write the best you can, and never copy anyone else. Be YOU, since there is only one of YOU." RLP


May 28, 2007
Dear Readers, I'm back. Such good news to hear OurEcho.com has made the list of 101 Best Sites for 2007. So you see, dear reader/writer, your work has significance. I am on the verge of 65 and thrilled to have the energy and desire to write. It keeps my brain tinging, and my fingers supple.

We who are of the older generation, notice I did not say "old," should keep our minds active and our legs in the best possible shape for getting around. Many of us have much to say through our desire to write. For those who cannot type, then use a tape recorder to reflect on life, the distant past and thus share your memories with immediate family members and preserving your thoughts for those to follow.

I still get older people who ask what to write about. "Remember when you were young?" I respond. "Tell people the good things which happened to you," I say. In my case, I had unforgiveness in my heart towards my father because of his drinking problems as a result of the terrible things he saw during the Second World War. Then one day, 40 years later, as I thought about what he went through, even though he could barely talk about it, I forgave him all animosity and in a short period of time, a heavy weight was lifted. Four years later, dad passed away and I am thankful I had those good years which actually triggered other good memories I had totally forgotten. They became stories which ended up on paper, and more are on the way.

Each person has a wealth of information they can share, so get to it, right now. Readers are waiting. RLP

The Canadian children’s writer, Budge Wilson, said to me years ago at an Author’s Day reading, “Persevere, Richard---Your day will come.” I have other children's novel, and picture books seeking publishers.


June 8, 2007
Something different is on the horizon. Today I felt it important to ask any readers to send me an e-mail to: richardprov1@netscape.net and tell me any ideas which helped them in their writing. Then I'll put them in this blog. It seems many persons are checking this story, which is a continuing one, so let's hear from you, readers and writers.


June 24, 2007
Hello Readers. I have been busy writing poems, short stories, and tidying up my novels for submission. If you really wish to be a serious writer, you have to begin another collection of words to begin your next project. On the other hand, if writing is simply a fun occupation, then why not write regularly. Also, try to write from different perspectives, from the point of view of writer, subject or someone on the sidelines watching with interest. Each of us has a skill to share and that is part of the writing-challenge.

New writers must be careful from the wolves out there. A whole industry is interested in getting your money to help you along. Be aware, do research and watch out for those interested in costing you a fortune to get published. Do research, ask questions from writers or friends, seek advice before you end up paying a fortune to some stranger.

For those who are fortunate to get a publisher, make sure of one item. IF you wish to purchase copies to sell to friends, what will it cost you per book? What minimum number of books must be purchased to get postage paid for shipment to your door? An important aspect is, does the writer have to pay in advance prior to receiving books? I am amazed at how different some companies are, from 20-40% discount for writer-purchases; and paying up front to not having to pay publisher for a year. Ask questions. Don't be shy, because the Publisher should not be the only one making money on YOUR STORY. Right? Take care, from Richard L. Provencher

Richard L. Provencher and his wife, Esther, live in Truro, NS. He has stories in print and online, in many journals.


June 26, 2007
Hello good readers. I enclose the following story as an example of how to write on the same subject from a different slant. In my Short, Short stories on OurEcho site, "The Writer" last among the ten stories, gives an idea on how you can re-style your story for different markets, and yet retain the flavour of a precious idea. Here it is:


Sit down. Stretch finger muscles. Adjust bi-focal glasses and scratch your belly. The screen faces you, computer humming, waiting for a new slant on memories.

Some stories and poems are persistent, like mosquitoes taking on new shapes each time in the re-telling. They peck at you like a family of Chick-a-Dees, their antics anticipating frequent revised descriptions.

To whom will you submit these gems this time? Will it be another “Not taking on new clients” publisher repeatedly advertised in a writer’s magazine? Or the editor who said “Send me your full manuscript.” Then six months later in response to a query, “Didn’t you get our E-mail stating we are no longer interested? Sorry.”

And barbs of sarcasm do not diminish me. “You call this a poem?” I rise above the critiquing. “Have you not tried taking a writing course?” My feathers are those of an eagle. I am above their shortsightedness. I am a writer. I am me.

“You have a nice way of expressing yourself” is today’s unexpected thermal that greets my soaring. “Yes, we do wish to receive your manuscript. Send it soon.” Now I rise triumphant. My eagle wings stretch fully. A shrieking emits from my mouth. A shuffle of paper greets my new son. Busy fingers fly across my computer keys.


July 12, 2007
Dear Readers, I truly believe God has placed a special gift within each of us, whether it is caring for others, or writing stories as I do and many others as well. Five years ago, I prayed for something good to happen in 2007 and am truly blessed with getting more stories and novels and picture books published. And it is taking place. I will be doing book signings at a Book Festival in New Brunswick next week. During your own writing journey, do not hesitate to share, then read your poems and stories to friends, family and get together with other writing friends and repeat at a coffee house or local library. Each of us has a different perspective on what we see and feel. How wonderful to read about those different perspectives. Go now and do it. God bless everyone. RLP


July 25, 2007
It was such a pleasure to read and sign my book, "Coming Through the Mist" at Ste. Martins, New Brunswick first Book Fair. Children are so precious when they listen to a story, their eyes almost buldge out as they listen attentively.

A reader must engage his/her audience. Use facial expressions, try different voices for your characters, and place life into the spoken word. It's even fun to use your audience to make certain sounds as you read the story. It also allows them to listen more carefully, when words like wind, horses, etc. are spoken, followed by your audience's corresponding words, or actions.

For instance, when "tree" is read four or five can stand up each time the word is heard. Try out an audience of friends or family, and you will have some fun. And get excellent feedback on your own written story. The best, from Richard LP.

* * *

August 27, 2007
Well dear readers, I am going to take a break from writing about writing. So I am going to sign off for now. I hope the above info has been helpful. If you have any specific questions, let me know. Remember, don't talk about writing, WRITE. Best wishes, from Richard L. Provencher, and my wife, Esther, Truro, Nova Scotia.

* * *

July 25, 2008
Richard and Esther Provencher invite you to view their novels written during a recovery from a stroke, which gob smacked her husband Richard in 1999.

Direct links to these novels from www.synergebooks.com are below.

FOOTPRINTS is about Joe who receives an anonymous letter stating he has a 14 year old son he was not aware of. Will this affect a recent marriage to a wonderful lady with two children who love him? His desire to find his missing son puts a strain on everyone. Unknown to Joe, an angry son is also looking for him.
http://www.synergebooks.com/ebook_footprints.html novel available now

SOMEONES SON is about Sheldon who has overcome much hurting these past three years. He has been the man of the house since his father moved out. Now dad is back and wants to spend time with him. What about Larry, his neighbor who has been like a father all this time? And mom wants to marry again? http://www.synergebooks.com/ebook_someonesson.html novel available soon

INTO THE FIRE is about Troy who has no real friends, only an imaginary one, JC. Without him, Troy might not be able to cope with living in the country, since dad took up drinking. Troy has to be the man of the house because a terrible accident killed mom three months ago. Then a mystery changes everything.
http://www.synergebooks.com/ebook_intothefire.html. novel available soon