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Hello to all my faithful family, friends, and followers.

Today, since I have many new followers, I thought I should introduce myself.

My name is Paul W. West. I'm a California transplant and now live in Taylorsville, Utah with my wife. I have one published novel, "BRIDGETOWN HIGH," and am currently working on a sequel I'm calling "Bridgetown Murders." More about that one in a later post. In these posts I usually offer some advice to other writers and authors that I've gleaned over the years, hence the title EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR. I hope these posts will help you in your writing adventures.

BRIDGETOWN HIGH is about seventeen year old Mark Wilkerson who has no memory of the fiery crash that killed his family on the Carquinez Bridge… Living with his grandmother and burdened with guilt, Mark vows to find the hit-and-run driver who killed his family and take his revenge. The only detail he remembers, however, is round taillights swerving in front of his family’s car, and he’s shocked when he notices that the car of the high school’s bully, Jeff Marino, has identical taillights—and a suspicious dent in the fender. Now he wants revenge more than ever… Jeff believes Mark is an anti-Vietnam War activist like his cousin Gary—and despises him for it. To make matters worse, when Jeff’s girlfriend Genie Lombardi dumps him for Mark, it kicks Jeff’s hatred for him to a dangerous new level. Lies and threats escalate, until alcohol and drugs and a shocking death send Jeff over the edge, and his campaign to get Genie back any way he can turns violent. When Mark’s memory begins to return, it leads to a terrifying confrontation. Will he finally prove the identity of the guilty driver? Or will he and Genie become one more tragedy associated with the Carquinez Bridge?

If you would like to follow me, you can follow this link ( to my blog page and enter your email address in the side-bar. You will be notified whenever I write a new post. You can also follow me on Facebook at Paul W West, Author: Twitter at @paulwwest: and LinkedIn at Paul West.

I look forward to any questions or comments you would like to offer.

Paul W. West, Author
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Thursday, October 03, 2019

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Hi again, all my family, friends, and followers. It was gratifying to see how many of you responded to my call for advice last week on Facebook. You can find me there at "Paul West Writer," "Paul West," and the title of my published novel, "BRIDGETOWN HIGH," plus some other Facebook closed sites which I appreciate their finding my posts and responding. To those of you who responded, I thank you.

If any of you who have not read BRIDGETOWN HIGH and would like to purchase a copy simply click the links and you'll be directed to Amazon.

I'm certain that with your help to spread the word about my book, the sales are sure to increase, and you'll have much enjoyment in your reading. Thanks to all of you for making these post possible.
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A fond hello to all my faithful followers, friends, and family

Today, I have a rather off-the-wall question for you.

As most of you know, I have a novel written (titled BRIDGETOWN HIGH) that has been published by a small, but good, publishing house. Unfortunately, I am as you also know, a writer and not a great salesman. Therefore most people don't know me very well, thus the book only sold a few hundred copies. The contract with my publisher is about to expire and I'm wondering what you think my chances would be of re-marketing it through an agent this time and thus through a major publishing house? I've had some great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as many of you know, but due to my rather unknown status it didn't sell as well as I think it should. Currently, as most of you also know, I am writing a sequel to it (working title: BRIDGETOWN MURDERS) that several of you have demanded.

Do you have any suggestions, or am I beating the proverbial dead horse?

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A VERY belated hello to all my faithful family, friends, and followers. It seems ever since I retired i'm busier now than I was when I was working. Not sure how that works.

Anyway, recently someone posed a question regarding a first-person look inside the head of an evil main character. I think their problem was with how to make it seem real. Or maybe they have never been evil themselves so there's not much experience to compare.

Often, antagonists are portrayed at a distance, and we don’t really know much about them, other than some superfluous idea given by the protagonist or his/her friends. What is the antagonist’s real motivation? Why is he/she doing what he/she does? Why does he/she seem to hate the protagonist? We don’t usually get a very good idea unless the antagonist speaks about his evil intentions. Seldom does a writer delve deeply enough into the antagonist’s head to learn his/her real motivations.

In my recently finished novel, BRIDGETOWN HIGH , I’ve done just that, delved into my antagonist’s head. In this novel, Jeff Marino is the antagonist. He wants the main love interest, Genie Lombardi, to love him back, but she can’t. She’s in love with the main character, Mark Wilkerson. Throughout the novel, Jeff causes extreme grief for Mark, and by association, for Genie as well. But, it doesn’t just stop there, a simple case of jealousy. Jeff has issues. By writing this novel is third-person, we learn through getting into his head what Genie really means to him. We learn he comes from a broken, abusive home on the proverbial wrong side of the tracks. He needs someone like Genie to bolster his self image. He smokes and drinks alcohol to bolster his courage and to unwind from his stresses. Near the end of the book, his only true friend, Bobby Baker, is killed in a tragic automobile accident. They’d both been doing Meth combined with alcohol and Bobby jumps out of the car on the Carquinez Bridge and is hit by an on-coming car. Jeff doesn’t blame himself, or Bobby for what happened, instead, he diverts the blame to nearly everyone else: Genie for going off with Mark Wilkerson, Mark for stealing his chick, Alan Bennaducci, a friend, for supplying the drugs that killed his best friend.

Through Jeff’s eyes, grief and rationalization become real, especially when he obtains a handgun.

You’ll just have to read the rest of the book to find out how it ends.

The point is, if a writer can get into the head of his/her antagonist, I believe he/she can make the story much richer, with deeper meaning and understanding of what makes him/her tick.

Try it. And, to see first hand how it works check out BRIDGETOWN HIGH for yourself.
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Hey hey, to all my faithful followers and family. Sorry for taking so long to get back to writing in this blog.

Today, I thought I'd touch on a huge mistake I often see writers make, that being the lack of capturing the reader's attention early on in the book. As I begin reading a new novel, I see a lot of back story and setting descriptions that are, may I say BOOOORRRRIIIINNNNGGGG. That is tantamount to telling the reader to give up now before it gets any worse. I mean how do you expect a person to keep reading if you turn them off in the first page or two?

Rule of thumb, your opening paragraph should plunge your POV character into some kind of terrible trouble in the first paragraph or first sentence, if possible. That doesn't necessarily mean a life or death situation; It could be some other kind of trouble. If you have ever read "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott you'll find the girls' terrible trouble was that Christmas was coming and their father was away from home with the Union Army during the Civil War, and they had no money for gifts for their mother let along to each other. A heart-wrenching scenario. 

When I wrote my published novel, "BRIDGETOWN HIGH," I went through several opening scenes before settling on the one I finally chose where my POV and MC character, Mark, was bemoaning the deaths of his parents and kid sister, who all died in a fiery crash on the Carquinez Bridge in Northern California. To make matters worse, though he was in the crash, he doesn't remember it, but nevertheless, he vows to find the hit-and-run driver who caused the accident.

From the first terrible trouble, the novel or story builds from that, scene by scene, until the climax at the end.

Does your story start and build like that? If not, you might want to take a closer look at it. Nothing turns a reader off like a milk toast opening of setting descriptions and back story. Get the story going first, then you can add that stuff between the lines as the story develops. Good luck with it and if you need some help, feel free to email me at, or find and Friend me on FaceBook.

BRIDGETOWN HIGH is a perfect read for teens and baby boomers alike. Just click on this and it will take you to my book's Amazon page.
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Hi, all my great friends and followers.

The photo with this post was taken by an unknown photographer of the front of the high school that is the setting for much of  my novel BRIDGETOWN HIGH.

A looooong time ago (I won't say how long) I took a college creative writing course. The professor gave us many techniques to create believable characters, settings, etc., and to create a plot. Since it's been so many years, I've forgotten most of what I learned there, though I'm sure I have internalized most of it anyway, but one thing that still sticks out at me is what he made us do for the final test. It was a "blue-book" essay, or rather short story writing final. He wrote one sentence on the chalk board, obscure, seemingly meaningless, and told us that it had to be the first sentence in our story. Then he wrote another sentence, seemingly unrelated and equally obscure, and told us it had to be the last sentence in our story. Our task was to fill in the middle and make it sound logical. It had to be 500 words. It was tough. I struggled with it for nearly 20 minutes. Then I outlined what I thought could be a possible connection between the two sentences, then wrote the story. It took me about an hour to write it (we had an hour-and-a-half), but I got an "A" on the final, and in the class.

I only mention that because I've found it to be one technique in creating a plot -- know the beginning and know where you want to end up. Then, connect the dots. Do I get side-tracked? Sure. But I make sure all the stray plot lines eventually come home again, and I make sure they really contribute to the overall theme of the story I'm writing. If not, they get cut.

Yes, I write a rudimentary outline of the plot in paragraph form, and I try to keep to it, but sometimes I have to modify it. But that's okay. As they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day."
If you want to see what has become of using that technique, get a copy of BRIDGETOWN HIGH and read it. You can either get an electronic (Kindle) copy or paperback copy at Amazon. Or, if you are reading this post on FaceBook, check out my blog at
After reading my book, it would be great, and helpful, if you would write a short review on Amazon and Goodreads. Many thanks.
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Hi again, to all my wonderful friends and followers.

I thought today I would talk a little bit about creating memorable characters.

I suppose everyone has a slightly different technique in getting to know their characters. Mine is probably as unique as anyone's.

My novel "BRIDGETOWN HIGH" is character driven. I prefer to write and read this kind of fiction. If one writes plot-driven stories, a strong well-defined character isn't always needed and may even get in the way of the suspenseful plot. But in character-driven fiction, it's imperative to know your characters, how they think, how they react to circumstances, their background, goals, fears, loves, hates, etc.

When I began writing my novel, I tried to create characters using the personality traits of people I knew. Of course, I had to modify them so the actual people wouldn't recognize themselves. As I did this, I tried to get into their heads. I tried to imagine myself in their shoes. How would I think, act, react, feel, etc., if I were them? From trying to empathize with my characters, I've been able to write not only from the protagonist's point of view, but also from the antagonist's. I think my main antagonist is as real as my protagonists. My female characters are as real to me as the male characters. I know it's perhaps difficult for a man to think like a female, and vice-versa, but I think it can be done if we're truly sympathetic and empathetic to what makes the opposite sex tick.

Try this in your writing. It makes your work stand out and enjoyable to read. If you want some good examples, check out "BRIDGETOWN HIGH." It's garnered several great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
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