Seedlings by Aaron Paul Lazar

What They Say

“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
—George Singleton


Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.


SEMI-FINALIST Kindle Book Review Awards 2015
FINALIST Readers Favorites Awards 2013
SEMI-FINALIST Kindle Book Review Awards 2013, Mystery Category
HONORABLE MENTION Eric Hoffer 2013
GRAND PRIZE * FINALIST 2013 EPIC Book Awards  * FINALIST 2012 FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS * Finalist DaVinci Eye Cover Award 2013 * WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION *Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads for 2012 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Books of 2012 * Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist  * Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books 2008MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008  * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012

Contact Aaron at aaron(dot)lazar(at)yahoo.com.

 

Books by multi-award winning, Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES

LeGarde Mysteries

DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)  
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
THE LIARS’ GALLERY (print, eBook, audio book)
SPIRIT ME AWAY (print, eBook, audio book)
UNDER THE ICE: COUNTERPOINT (coming soon 2015)
LADY BLUES: forget-me-not (print, eBook, audio book)
VOODOO SUMMER ( print, eBook, audio book)

GREEN MARBLE MYSTERIES

Green Marble Mysteries

The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly Healey's Cave) (print, eBook, audio book)
TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES

Tall Pines Mysteries Series

FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
SANCTUARY (print, eBook, audio book)
BETRAYAL (print, eBook, audio book)

PAINES CREEK BEACH SERIES

Paines Creek Beach Series

THE SEACREST (print, eBook, and audio book)
THE SEACROFT (print, eBook, audio book)
THE SEADOG (print, eBook, audio book)

BITTERSWEET HOLLOW Romantic Suspense Series

Bittersweet Hollow series

DEVIL’S LAKE (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVIL’S CREEK (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVILS SPRING (print, eBook, and audio book)

 

Seedlings
by Aaron Paul Lazar, author of the LeGarde Mystery Series.

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Illustration © 2006 GinELF

 

September 2018

"Writing Like You Talk" Copyright © 2018 Aaron Paul Lazar. All rights reserved.
Excerpt from Write Like the Wind volume 1 by Aaron Paul Lazar. Re-printed by permission of the author.

Write Like the Wind volume 2 by Aaron Paul Lazar

Writing Like You Talk

Have you ever heard the old adage, "Write like you talk"?

I've run across this bit of advice off and on during my career, whether in writing skills articles or from colleagues who had a "eureka" moment of their own. One mentor said he didn't write one really good book until he actually put the advice into practice. And let me tell you, it worked. It really worked. Now I devour his mysteries.

"Writing like you talk," is another way to accomplish "pure" writing, to avoid those lengthy narratives, obscure references, or highbrow words that most folks don't recognize. Done right, it can be simple, yet profound. Imagine the kind of prose that flows without stuttering in your brain or tripping you up in the middle of an action scene, words that tell a story almost in an invisible way. It's likely that your favorite authors fall into this category.

Ever had the experience where you're reading a book and you keep noticing the actual writing? Okay, okay. I know most writers pay close attention to the writing in every book. But there are superb books whose stories flow so fast you can't stop turning the pages. They aren't always elegant—like Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series. Those books make me weak in the knees because they're so beautifully crafted—yet they propel you forward so the movie plays in your mind and you don't notice the words.

There are others, however, where you can't help but notice the writing, and not in a good way. Sometimes this is a result of writers who are just learning the craft, who are trying way too hard. And sometimes it's just plain old bad writing. These writers want to dazzle us with their vocabulary, their command of the language, or their brilliant analogies. Sometimes it's just too much. One of the first things I learned was to CUT, CUT, CUT. My early prose was filled with glorious adverbs and adjectives describing the visions I saw in my head. But they bogged down the story. After all that, after learning to hone and refine and smooth out the sentences, I'm STILL learning to cut the excess and just tell the damn story.

Of course, one must have balance. In literary mysteries, for example, there is room for a bit of poetry, or a scene described in such luscious terms that it makes the reader salivate for a meal, or a dip in a lake, or a romantic moment with your character. (You wouldn't believe how many “marriage proposals” Gus LeGarde has had.)

Once you've learned to simplify the prose, then it's okay to spice it up—judiciously—so your own style can shine. Perfectly chosen verbs, sparing yet brilliant analogies, or dead-on dialog will help you carve your own niche in your genre.

I just finished a book that drove me to write about this topic. As I read, I heard the author's voice in my head. I recognized the natural style and lovely Southern accent, because I've heard her radio show and have chatted with her. And it worked, it really worked.

Here's the review I wrote for Kim Smith's Avenging Angel, soon to be re-released as Disk of Death, where the author does a great job of writing like she talks.

***

A great read doesn't have to be fancy, full of literary allusions or deep musings. Nor does it need a ritzy setting, plots that twist your brain into a pretzel, or elite protagonists.

What a great read does need is a story that moves, characters who linger in your mind, and a voice that calls you back to its pages. Avenging Angel by Kim Smith accomplished all three.

Smith has written a suspenseful cozy mystery set in the south in a small lazy town. Shannon Wallace, a spunky, smart, and all-American young woman, is at the brink of disaster. Dumped by her beau, fired from her job, and plunged into the middle of a killer nightmare, Shannon's pluck and smarts carry her forward in a tidal wave of terror that will get your heart pumping in this delightful page turner.

When Shannon's boyfriend is murdered hours after he breaks up with her, she discovers their private video collection is missing. Problem is, the star of the intimate show is Shannon, and she'll do everything in her power to retrieve the embarrassing disks.

The author knows how to write. But best of all, she knows how to write like she talks. It's not easy to accomplish, as most debut authors tend to fall into the trap of using words that sound good but don't fit, or making a sentence far more complex than it needs to be. Smith's simple, straightforward, and quite endearing style is what drives Avenging Angel forward, with hints of colorful Southern dialect and engaging dialog.

That said, there are select moments of literary prose that shine, as in the following excerpt:

"August in the Mid-South is like summer in the tropics. The crepe myrtles bloom in fuchsia and pink, and old people perch like lazy flies on white wicker swings and cane chairs. In every neighborhood, folded fans gently wave at the heat, and everyone talks about the weather. No one moves too much, or too fast, thanks to the humidity, which turns the still air into a sauna-like atmosphere even before daybreak. The firmest hair spray is reduced to damp stickiness, the best-laid plans are set aside until evening, and the most even-tempered person will contemplate murdering their friend."

By contrast, take a look at this wonderfully simple, yet engaging, segment:

"My dreams were a mish mash of colors and snippets from my life. I saw myself as a child, orphaned. I relived the pain that accompanied it until it nearly drowned me and woke with tears on my face. The birds of summer played somewhere outside the window and all the sounds of nature seemed intensified as though reassuring me I was still alive."

As much as I enjoyed the plot line—straightforward, tense, great suspense—it was the relationships between Shannon, Dwayne, Salvatore, the elderly aunts, and the broad cast of suspects that sold me.

I was most pleased that Shannon didn't fall into the arms of the handsome local detective, because that would have made the work too predictable, trite, or Lifetime Movie-ish. No, Shannon held her own, wasn't pushed around by the cops, and survived numerous attacks by a very frightening assailant. This woman—while she does show very real emotions that ring true—won't be bullied by anyone. And when Dwayne helps her buy and learn to use a handgun, it may be the key to her survival.

Smith, "a true blue southern gal who was raised on black-eyed peas and cornbread," has written lovely sequels to her captivating world. See more at her website, http://www.kimsmithauthor.com/.

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com


Write Like the Wind cover artwork

WRITING ADVICE: 

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3  (audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming releases, UNDER THE ICE (2015) and DEVIL’S CREEK (2015). Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers!

 

 

Bittersweet Hollow series by Aaron Paul Lazar

BITTERSWEET HOLLOW Romantic Suspense Series
"Loved this book! DEVIL'S LAKE is a riveting read, and It could have been ripped from today's headlines." Joan Hall Hovey, Canada's best selling, award-winning Mistress of Suspense.
- 2015 Finalist Readers Favorites Awards
- 2015 Semi-finalist Kindle Book Review Awards