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, March 1, 2011

It's March 1st: The World Burns (nothing new there) but Spring Beckons and the Writer Re-Writes

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Oscar Wilde

“I wrote a script for a guy, and he said he liked it but he thought that I needed to rewrite it. I said, Screw that, I'll just make a copy.” Mitch Hedberg

There's another Oscar Wilde quote about writing that goes something like this: "Yesterday I spent four hours taking out a comma and today I spent four hours putting it back in." That's the idea anyway. I'll bet he was talking about the final stages of re-writing something. It could be a term paper or a poem or a short story. In my case it's a novel.

I'm right there at the  point where I'm about to tell myself, "Okay, it's done already. Now you're spending entire days putting in and taking out commas. Screw it, let's make a copy." Still, it seems whatever place I open up the manuscript to, I find something egregious that needs changing. Not just commas, but idiotic, clumsy, over-written phrasing. And what about that new scene I'm thinking about inserting right in the middle of the book? Should I or shouldn't I? I've learned to trust my instincts when I write, but now, with the manuscript nearing its final form, my instincts are all muddled.

The good news is that yesterday, whilst raking up the winter detritus of our front yard, my wife found the wonderful flower pictured above, a very fine crocus. And then I went out to my sailboat and she posed for this lovely photo--kinda of an old, retired guys Playboy foldout with no staples in the middle. Ah!

So, mad dictators, savage politicians, and  commas, and clumsy phrasing be damned, it's been a long, cold winter and these first harbingers of Spring will be enjoyed--celebrated, even. I've done all I can for humanity this week and I'm going to enjoy the spoils.

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