Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Writing This Morning, Working on Character Development, What About the Boat?

A Traditional Canoe (Proa) from Puluwat

4 August 2009

Starting this blog in the morning as I sit in my man cave checking on the news and getting ready to write. I'm trying to put some discipline back into my life after being carried hither and yon by the happy currents and tides of free-fall retirement.

First goal: Sleep in until I can't sleep anymore. It's the only way to start the day. So far so good.

Second: Have a quick breakfast. Lingering in the kitchen over eggs and toast with the clean-up required afterwards cuts into writing time.

Third: A quick check of TV news/politics (I'm a junkie).

Fourth: The laptop is open and we get going. The book is an adventure novel for young people. It's set in the western Pacific at the outbreak of WWII. Two boys, one a white boy from Massachusetts, the other, an island boy from Guam, find themselves on the run from the invading Japanese. They leave the island in a small sailboat and find themselves struggling to survive on the open sea. Important subplot: The spirits of the islands ancestors.

All right, turn off the TV and get going.

5 August 2009

First goal realized as itemized above: Got up this morning when I felt like it.

Second goal as stated above: Not as successful. Made myself a good breakfast rather than a quick breakfast bar. All I ate on the boat for three weeks for breakfast was breakfast bars. You can get mighty sick of breakfast bars.

Third goal was to get my politics fix: I ignored the TV. Amazing.

Fourth goal: I got down to writing. Actually, I'm re-reading what I've written so far. It's pretty critical to keep an eye on where you've been and where you're going and get a feel for the tone/mood of the book. Are the characters developing as you imagined, is the book moving/flowing well? Will young people identify with what's going on and who it's happening to? I see a need, on the next big re-write, to develop the conflict between the boys more, to put it up there in big red letters. The resolution of their conflict is one of the major subplots in the book. I'm going back to Guam in October and I'll spend some time with Manny Sikau, a friend of mine, who is a master navigator from Puluwat. Need to pick his brain for the critical details that make a book like this work. I've known Manny for many years and voyaged with him. He's the real thing.

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