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Hi Gang,

How is your writing going?

I thought today I would talk about antagonists, or the bad guys and girls.

A lot of the time, I read stories that don't describe the antagonists beyond maybe facial features, body build, and maybe skin and hair color. They also usually give the antagonists a motive for why they are antagonists, but that's it.

While these things are important, there should be much more in depth descriptions. In my novel, BRIDGETOWN HIGH, I went into a lot of descriptions of Jeff Marino. I not only portrayed him as a bully, but also as a poor boy from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks, a boy with no family life, his mother works two jobs just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. He has only one friend, Bobby Baker, who tries to help. Jeff has one great passion, Genie Lombardi, a protagonist. He is in love with her and she becomes the reason he hates Mark Wilkerson (the main protagonist).

As the story unfolds, Jeff looses Bobby to a horrible accident (you'll have to read the book to find out how). I described in detail how he felt, how he mourned for his best friend, almost like a brother. He then goes through what I think is a metamorphosis. He begins to blame everyone he associated with, especially Mark. He even blames Genie who dumped him for Mark. In short, I describe what's going on in his mind, how he changes and wants revenge.

If you're serious about writing, take my advice when it comes to the antagonist. Get into his/her head to make him/her real, to come alive on the pages.

Good luck. I hope that encourages you, not discourages you. For me, writing is in my blood. I just can't quit. I hope my next novel, a sequel to BRIDGETOWN HIGH, will be as well written.
So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog/message, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" or "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon. I need all the reviews I can get to make this book a success. Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments, good or bad, to this blog. And also keep in mind "BRIDGETOWN HIGH" is still available at Amazon. You can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel. Almost everyone who has read it, loved it.

(By-the-way, if you are reading this on my blog ( the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)

See y'all next week, and happy writing.
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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, June 15, 2017

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Hello, all my favorite boys and girls.

Are you ready for some more of my wisdom about writing?

Well, I don't know how much is wisdom and how much is desperation, ha ha.

When I began writing fiction, the first thing I did was go to the library to see what it had in the way of  helps. I searched the card catalog (this was before the spread of the internet) for "How to write" and found several great books on the subject. Books by Dean Koontz, Jack Bickham, Ronald Tobias, among others I can't recall right now. To me, the best was "How to Write Best Selling Fiction," by Dean Koontz. That may be the reason I quote him so much.

As I thought about a story line, I realized I needed to do some research. The first things I consulted, believe it or not, were my high school year books. Since I'd decided I wanted my novel to be set there, I wanted to make sure I described things as accurately as I could. Several of you have commented in your reviews how they could visualize the places and events I described in "Bridgetown High." Then, knowing I would likely portray kids with drugs, I did research into drug addiction and effects of taking mentamphetamines with alcohol. That research brought me to write one of the most dramatic scenes in the book, but it also let me know when I've overdone it.

Here is an exerpt of that scene. To give you a bit of lead up, Alan had bought meth and stole some beer for a drug party. Then he and Jeff, Genie, and Chris went for a joy ride across the Carquinez Bridge. There's more, but I have to keep something for you to wonder about, he he he. I also won't give you the outcome of this little chase scene, he he he. Enjoy!

“No! Bobby, no!” Chris yelled as Alan leaned over the steering wheel so Bobby could push the door open and get out.

Bobby didn’t answer. Then Genie saw the pistol in his hand.

“Bobby,” Chris screamed. “Where you get that?”
Chris grabbed Bobby’s shirt as he climbed out, “Bobby, No! Don’ do it. Get back in here!” Tears were streaming down Chris’s face as she tried to hold onto his shirt, but he pulled away from her. Then she screamed again, this time in Spanish.

“Bobby,” Genie screamed too. “Get back in here. You’re going to get hurt.” She wanted to say killed, but couldn’t bring herself to say it.

Horns blared as cars passed, barely brushing past Bobby and Alan’s open door. He dodged one car, then another, then dashed to the front of Alan’s car, then to the narrow sidewalk.

Chris reverted to English. “Bobby! In the name of God, get back in here. You acting crazy,” she yelled at him. “You loco man!” But he just stared down at the ship under the bridge. “You going get kill out there,” she kept yelling. “Please! Get back here. Oh, my God, Mother Mary, and Joseph!” Chris and Genie made the sign of the cross together.

“I got to see this too,” Jeff said, as he pushed Linda’s seat forward and climbed out to join his friend.

Genie dropped her face into her hands, forgetting for the moment her migraine. Then popping noises made her look up again. Bobby was shooting at the ship as more cars passed by, honking.

Alan rolled his window down and shouted, “Get in, quick! Cops are coming!”

Genie glanced behind them and saw the red flashing lights from an approaching squad car. Above the noise from the stereo, she could faintly hear the wail of its siren. She prayed the officer would stop them before somebody got hurt.

Jeff jumped back in next to Genie while Bobby ran back around the front of the car. As he darted to the door, another car passed at that same moment. Genie felt and heard the hard, dull thump, and she and Chris screamed as Bobby’s body hurtled into the air, into the path of another car.

Genie’s stomach wrenched as Bobby’s blood splattered across the windshields of both cars and his body bounced again on the pavement where another car screeched to a halt over his lifeless body.

Bobby’s gun slid across the freeway toward Alan’s car. He opened the car door to retrieve it and tossed it to Jeff. “Here. Hold on to it.”

Traffic on the northbound span came to a quick halt. Through her tears, Genie could see the highway patrol car struggling through the tangled traffic. Please hurry! she prayed.

Alan swore and stomped on the gas pedal, peeling rubber.

“Alan, stop!” Chris screamed, slapping the back of Alan’s head. “You leave Bobby. You can no leave him. Stop!”

“No way,” Alan said, ducking forward and swearing. “He’s dead. We got to get out of here before that cop gets us.”

At the toll booth at the end of the bridge, two black-and-white highway patrol cars waited with red lights flashing, ready to intercept Alan.

Alan swore again as he hit the brakes and spun a sharp left. He slid into the turn out before the toll plaza’s office building. It was designed for people to turn around if they’d gotten on the bridge by accident. Alan skidded on some loose gravel, then merged with the southbound traffic back to Crockett.

While Chris screamed, Genie glanced out the back window again. As she hoped, the officers had joined the chase.

Turning back to the front, she held on tight as Alan cut in-and-out of traffic again. He had a crazed look in his eyes.

The bridge, cars, and everything passed in a blur. Alan was going to kill all of them. Genie knew it.

All the while, Linda just stared out the front window, a blank expression on her face, while Chris screamed at Alan, in Spanish again.
Genie was too frightened to speak, or even scream. She knew Alan wasn’t in his right mind, and she struggled to keep bile from rising in her throat.

Jeff, bouncing in his seat, yelled, “Turn off, Al. I know a place we can hide in Crockett where they can’t find us.”

Alan cut across two traffic lanes in front of other cars that honked as he did, and veered off onto the exit.

The highway patrol cars were a half-mile behind them. Please hurry! she prayed again.

Alan and Jeff both swore and Genie looked back to the front. A county sheriff’s squad car was blocking the end of the off-ramp, a deputy stood beside the car with his gun in one hand, and a high-powered flashlight in the other. He aimed both it at Alan.

Alan targeted his car to the rear end of the squad car, like a demolition derby, and stomped on the gas pedal. “AAAAAHHHHH!” he screamed.

Genie dropped to the floor and Chris fell on top of her, still screaming in Spanish. This was it.

Genie felt a strong jolt and heard breaking glass and clashing metal. Unable to control it any longer, she vomited on the floor, then felt the car accelerate again. It wasn’t over.

Chris fell silent for a moment and sat back up.

Ignoring the sickening slime on her hands and chin, Genie crawled back to her seat, too.

The hood of Alan’s car was crumpled, but the collision hadn’t been enough to stop him.

Genie looked out the rear window as the squad car’s gas tank exploded, and the sheriff’s deputy ran from the flames.

Chris prayed her rosary in Spanish, and Genie decided a prayer wouldn’t hurt her either. Dear God, help! She couldn’t think of anything more to say, but kept repeating the words in her mind, genuflecting with each repetition.

So, did you enjoy that? There's more like that in the book, "Bridgetown High." Check it out.

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Hello to all my friends and family.

This week's post will be short. My work's computer caught a virus and died. It had been slowing down little by little until I called the doctor (techie) and after a lot of work in his part, he pronounced it dead.

So, no tears were shed when I was told I had to get a new computer. The new one is great. Much faster, a lot more memory (doubled, actually) and has the latest and greatest Windows operating system. The drawback is that I have to reinstall all my programs and settings. I have a lot of those things and after 3 days I still can't get a lot of them operating. So, with that in mind, I need to work on that instead of writing this blog post.


So, instead of writing about my writing, I'm going to post another review of Bridgetown High.


Here's one I especially love. Love to laugh off, that is:

"Teen drama.
on January 1, 2017
"This is not what I was expecting, just teenage drama. You may like it, but I'm not wasting my time."
She gave me 1 star, ha ha ha. You got to love it.
So, until next week, keep working on your novel and take a minute to read mine, Thanks.
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Hi everyone. When I started writing Bridgetown High, I suppose it could have been labeled contemporary young adult. However, over the years it has slowly become historical. The 1960s is probably no longer an era in which young adults are interested. I realize that, and accept my fate.

Over the years, as I wrote a bit at a time, trying my best to write a novel people would be interested in, I tried to bring it up to the contemporary level. I rewrote the entire book as if it were taking place in modern times. It just didn't work. So, I decided to try to write to the baby boomers as a nostalgic look back to a bye-gone era, and that is who is primarily buying my books.

Another problem I've run into, is not so much the age group, but what today's youth want to read - Fantasy and Science Fiction. Those genre do not attract me at all, though I have to admit I read all the Harry Potter books.

So, my advice to all you wannabe authors, if you want to be successful as an author, you might just have to write to the masses. Young adults want Fantasy and Science Fiction. Adults tend to read a lot of romance stories. Keep that in mind when you write your novel(s).

In the mean time, thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed Bridgetown High. If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon.
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Hi Gang,

Sorry last week's posting was a bit short, but I hope you enjoyed the review I posted. Most of my reviews have been a lot like that one.

Today, I want to give you more advice about becoming a best selling writer. In Dean Koontz's book, "How to Write Best Selling Fiction," Mr. Koontz suggests we write in "a style which embodies at least a trace of lyrical language and as many striking images as possible, for good writing is always vivid and visual."

So, what does all that mean?

Lyrical language. What does that mean to you? I'm not sure, exactly, but I'm sure it doesn't mean to write poetry, though I've seen some writers such as Ellen Hopkins who have done just that, i.e. wrote novels in a poetic style, and were very successful at it. But I think Koontz meant to write in a voice that belongs to your characters, not you the writer, i.e. make a boy sound like a boy and a girl sound like a girl. That's not always easy to do. In my novel, "Bridgetown High," one of the characters is a 1960s hippie. He tries to use a lot of hippie slang, "like wow," and stuff like that. I also have a Mexican girl who speaks broken Spanglish, and two who are from Italy and also speak broken English. In another book I'm writing, many of the characters are Irish and Scottish. I have to admit it ain't easy to mimic dialectical speech, and I'm not sure I always succeeded, but I haven't gotten many complaints, except for my 60s hippie, but I think in that instance people just don't remember how hippies/beatniks sounded back then. Quite annoying really. Actually, I've gotten many compliments on how I handled all the ohter dialects.

Striking images. What does that mean to you? Again, I'm not sure what Koontz mean by it (it's been a long time since I read the book), but I think he meant to describe the setting faithfully. Don't use it to excess, however. You don't want to interrupt the story with a ton of descriptive language or even back story. Don't spend a half dozen pages describing how the clouds are floating overhead, or how the trees and grass, or buildings look. More, how they make you feel. The setting can be like a character, setting various kinds of moods.

Play with these ideas. It's actaully quite fun to let you left brain go off on a fictional journey of its own. It's liberating

Just so you'll know, I may not be writing in this blog next week. I have a convention with my day job I need to attend to. But keep in mind, my book is still for sale in Amazon if you haven't got your copy yet.

Have fun with your writing, even if you think you can't, or don't want to. It's like a beautiful butterfly, the more you let it go, the more it will return (or something like that, LOL).

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Hi to all my family and friends.

Today, I'm a little short on time to write a blog posting. But I ran across a review a lady gave me for Bridgetown High. In case you are undecided as to whether or not to buy a copy of my book and read it, maybe this review will help you decide.

on February 14, 2017
Author Paul W. West, a great author and wonderful storyteller; this book is great for teenagers too. On that point is no cursing, nor sexual content, just a downright nice read that brings the reader back to the 1960’s. The characters are filled with emotions that truly stand out, especially, Mark Wilkerson, who bears a terrible sum of guilt which leads to some scary moments. I found this story to be an overall great read, very realistic in many ways and would make a great movie! Highly recommended.
You can read more review like this by going to Amazon and Goodreads and searching my name, or the name of my novel.

Next week I promise I'll get back to my review of Dean Koontz's book "How to Write Best Selling Fiction." Until then, have a wonderful week.
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Hi, everyone.

A good friend of mine recently disagreed with the title of this blog. He said, he doesn't want to be an author. Well, I think he just hasn't realized it yet.

This week's blog/news letter will be short. I recently read an article on how to gain followers and boost book sales, and I'm needing to digest it before I do much more.

In the meantime, I'll give you another bit of wisdom from Dean Koontz. This one will be short and sweet: "You must have at least some familiarity with the rules of English grammar and syntax -- the more familiarity the better, of course."

I can't express how important that is if you expect people to read your stuff. I think that is the biggest reason I give for poor reviews when someone asks me to review their novel. I recently reviewed a science fiction novel that was almost unreadable due to poor grammar and syntax. I struggled through the first 4 or 5 chapters and just couldn't go on. I had to tell the poor author the bad news that he needed to get with a good critique group, or at least go back to school and learn English (which was his native language -- well I didn't really say that to him). That book was almost as bad as the book I reviewed about a killer who was the protagonist and got into several gun fights with numerous other bad guys and even though they're only feet apart, and both fighters took several bullets, neither of them died. Duhh!

It's gotta make sense. But that's another issue called be logical.

Well, I need to quit for today. I don't know if any of you took advantage of my give-away last weekend. No? I didn't think so. I wasn't made aware my publisher was doing one until it was practically done and too late to announce it. Sorry. Keep posted and maybe another one will come up soon.

In the mean time, thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed "Bridgetown High." If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon.
Read More »