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Hi gang,

How did your holidays go? I hope it went well for all of you and you got everything your heart desired. Now that the holidays are over, it's time to get back to work on that novel you're writing (and I'm writing too).

Right now, I'm in the process of retiring from my day-job, so writing my novels will become my new day-job, and I should be able to devote more time to my writing.

I would like to make this blog interactive. If you have any questions or comments about writing, please send them to me and I'll try to respond as best I can. Sure, there are a lot of better writers  than me, but will they spend the time with your questions like I will? Or they will charge you hundreds of dollars to join one of the many writing groups for information I can give for free.

I say, there are better writers, but that may be up to you, the reader. My first novel "BRIDGETOWN HIGH," received many high reviews (4.43 in Goodreads and 4.2 in Amazon). That's as good as I've found for any of the top 100 writers. In fact, I got a compliment just today from a reader who has begun reading BRIDGETOWN HIGH. She said the opening chapter held her spellbound, and it only gets better as you read on.

Well, that's it for today. Please send me your writing and/or reading questions, and please add your email address to this blog so you can be aware of future developments and release dates.

Thanks, and I hope you have a wonderful New Year.

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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, January 04, 2018

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Hey hey, to all my faithful followers and family.

This week, I thought I'd get back to teaching about the subject you are most likely here for -- to learn about what it takes to become a published author.

As I read recently written novels, most unpublished, I'm still seeing what I railed on earlier in this series, that being about the lack of capturing the reader's attention early on in the book. I see a lot of back story and setting descriptions that are, may I say BOOOORRRRIIIINNNNGGGG. That is tantamont to telling the reader to give up now before it gets 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 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 and the story develops. Good luck with it and if you need some help, feel free to email me at or find me on FaceBook.

In case I don't get back to you until after New Years, I wish you wonderful holidays. Keep in mind, my novel would make a wonderful gift 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 Gang:

I hope you're all hanging in with me -- just want you to know I'm still alive, ha ha. I know it's been a couple of weeks since my last post, but with Christmas and New Years coming on, time to write has had to take a back seat to writing (unfortunately).

I thought today, I would talk (write) about what motivates me to write. Maybe some of my experiences will resonate with your experiences. Those who know me know that I'm a hopeless romantic.

When I was a Freshman in high school (John Swett High in Crockett, California), my English teacher told us we had to write something creative during the first 10 to 15 minutes of the class time. At first I thought it was a pain in the ... but once I got into it I hated to quit when the time was up.

Later, when I was a Senior in high school my English teacher (not the same one) could tell that I loved writing about the history of my home town (Port Costa, California). I collected tons of historical facts and started putting them into a large manuscript (that never got published). I even kept working on it when I got into junior college (Diablo Valley College).

After high school, I went to work in the C&H Sugar Mill for the summer, awaiting the fall when I could go back to school. The job was boring and I began day dreaming about a girl I liked (but never dated, well she had a boyfriend). I found that boredom helped me realize that it was a blessing if I could utilize it. So, I would make up scenarios about how I would ask her out, dates we would go, our first kiss, etc.

Then the Vietnam War forced me into the Air Force and I had to quit writing for a while (several years).

Years later, I had a job where I had to write reports for my day job and realized I could write fiction during my lunch breaks. So, I began work on what is now titled "Bridgetown High" (go ahead and click on the link, or cut and paste it into your search box). At first I had to write it long-hand, but eventually I bought a computer and the rest is history. I still write during my lunch breaks (can't wait for retirement).

I love writing, and I'm hoping to finish the sequel to Bridgetown High soon. Then, I have two other books I'm anxious to finish as soon as I can.

So, in case I don't get back to you in the next 2 or 3 weeks, I hope you all will have a wonderful Christmas season, and remember the reason for the season (Jesus the Christ). And wouldn't this make a great Christmas gift for Baby Boomers and Young Adults alike?

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Hi Gang,

I have to apologize that I haven't had time to write this blog or to write my novel (The Bridge Beckons) either. I have added a few sentences to my novel, but can't get over some brick walls. In January I'm going to retire and I have plans to do some writing every day. That will help a lot, I think.

My first novel (the one I published 2 years ago) took me almost 30 years to write and re-re-re-re-write, so this novel may take more time.

I have two more novels I also want to work on. Nobody said we HAVE to write, we just do it because it's fun, a hobby if you will. So if you are finding it difficult to find time for your hobby, hang in there. Once you sit down, butt in chair (BIC), you'll find it addicting and you won't want to stop. But you have to get BIC first.

In the meantime, I'd love to have your email address so I can send you announcements of upcoming events like the sale of my next book, a blog tour / media blitz that never got off the ground (ha ha ha),  my next blog entry, and so forth.

By the way, my novel is still on sale through Amazon. Just search for my name (Paul W. West) or the name of my book (Bridgetown High).

Happy Thanksgiving. I'll try to write you, my wonderful readers, before Christmas.
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Come join me on my journey as a writer at where I share some writing tips I’ve learned over the years. Also, you can find my novel “Bridgetown High,” set in Crockett, California at It’s an intriguing look into the minds of teenagers during the 1960s. Enjoy and pass this on to all your friends.
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Hi to all my friends, followers and family.

I hate to do this, but I need to let you know that this is likely to be my last post for a while. I'm finding it difficult to write these blog posts every week and still find time for actual writing.

Based on the actual number of comments I've gotten from all of you in my audience over the past couple of years, it doesn't appear there are very many people actually reading these posts anyway.

I will probably be back in a few months. I just need some space right now to put into practice what I've been teaching here.

It's been fun, but for now I need to do actual writing, and decide whether I want to continue with my Bridgetown High sequel called The Bridge Beckons, or resume work on another book I've wanted to finish. Some of you might remember me talking about GERTA!

In the meantime, keep going with your own writing and if you need help with something, please feel free to contact me at I'd love to hear from you, and I'll be happy to answer any questions, or help you with any issues you may have as best I can.

Bye for now,
Paul W. West, Author
Bridgetown High

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Hi Guys and Dolls (sounds like the title of a play, ha ha)

How's your writing going? Anything I can  help with? Don't be shy. I'd love to help. That's why I write this blog.

As a published writer, I still have my struggles too. But I feel that in three-and-a-half months, if nothing goes wrong, I should be able to retire. Once that happens, I should be able to do more writing.

Right now it's tough trying to get in the mood during my 1-hour lunch breaks 3 or 4 days a week. With that consideration, and my struggle to overcome my huge writer's block, my writing ain't goin' as well as I'd like.

See, like I said, we published writers have trouble writing as well.

Here's my problem right now. I have 7 main characters, each with their own individual problems, subplots if you will, and I can't decide how to tie them all together. Based on the word count, I'm probably less than half way through the book, so I have room to do with my characters what I want (or more likely let them do what they want) .

I've found, however, that I do my best writing when I'm bored, ha ha. Can you feature that? But it works, and may work for you, because that's when I let my thoughts wander -- or you can call it daydreaming, and daydreams are where my fiction comes from. It's difficult when I have to rush to put something down on paper, or the computer. I don't have time to do the necessary daydreaming, and that's what is keeping me from writing my best.

So, that's about it for now, and until next week, my best wishes to you for your writing. If any of you have any experiences like mine, I'd love to read about them on my Fan Page on Facebook, or as a comment at the end of this post. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer about writing and publishing, or where I grew up, I'll try to answer as best I can.

In the meantime, I'd love to have your email address so I can send you announcements of upcoming events like the blog tour / media blitz I am scheduling for the first or second week in October. I will possibly reduce the price of my electronic version of my novel  (BRIDGETOWN HIGH), so if you haven't got a copy yet, now would be a great time to buy one. You can also contact me at
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