Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I'm currently taking a mental break in writing my latest short story Marathon. My main character, Alex, is dealing with the loss of his right leg while serving in the military overseas in Iraq. The devastating effects have taken their physical, mental and emotional toll on Alex and his relationship with his wife, Cynthia.

I've been on a roll this past weekend and getting ready to put the finishing touches on the short story. It took me a minute to get into the mood to write again because I wasn't sure how to begin. I approached this task similar to the way I wrote each chapter for my novel One Love: create a handwritten outline identifying the characters, settings, themes, goals, etc. I wanted to accomplish in the story. Sometimes the ideas work and sometimes they don't, depending on the direction my writing takes me. Below is a sample of an outline from One Love (Spoiler Warning: If you haven't read One Love and are interested in doing so, you may want to skip this part!):

One Love
- Chapter 22
  • P.O.V. - Regina/Gigi
  • Chapter's goals - Gigi confronts both Cami, her best friend, and Leon, her ex-boyfriend.
  • Setting - The Crimson Moon Coffeehouse and Camille's, Cami's hair salon.
  • Round II - Gigi vs. Cami
  • Gigi was suppose to meet Leon at the Crimson Moon, but he no-showed.
  • Cami reveals to Gigi she didn't go through with her abortion. Gigi will have flashbacks about her experience while Cami's talking. Gigi will also regret her decision.
  • Gigi's lines in this chapter:
    • "Someday, Cami, I may find the heart and the strength to forgive you, but I won't ever forget what you said."
    • "A drunken mouth speaks a sober mind..." (This was omitted!)
  • April, the girls' friend, will be there as a mediator, much to Gigi's surprise.
  • Leon leaves Gigi a message on her answering machine at home.
  • Gigi calls Chris, her romantic suitor, the night before but he never returned her call (This too was omitted!)
  • Gigi picks up a flyer for the One Love poetry series that features Chris.
  • The main objective will be the end of Gigi's and Cami's friendship. On the flipside, it's the beginning of Gigi's and April's renewed friendship.
  • April will call Gigi later that evening to speak with her. She'll reveal to Gigi she had an abortion. (This was changed slightly as April wound up coming to Gigi's house unannounced!)
  • Crimson Moon Coffeehouse
    • ceiling fan, zebra and leopard print chairs, African tapestry on orange wall
    • multicolored ceiling lights and beige sofa
    • silver beaded curtains
    • dessert trays
    • black mermaid along red wall
    • music playing - A Tribe Called Quest's Award Tour (This was changed to Common's The Light).
    • Koko Darling, the owner - scarlet dress, black flats, brown skin complexion, silver earrings, black scarf
    • cafe latte, cappucino (Gigi winds up drinking the former)
Good music also puts me in the mood to write: a song that represents the essence of what I'm trying to capture in any piece - poem, short story, essay, chapter, etc. For Marathon, I've been repeatedly listening to Don Henley's New York Minute because it's the perfect for the story's theme: appreciating all that you have.

Well, the night is young and I need to get back to work. Hope this advice was beneficial for you.

For more information about me, please check out my website and the following links:


Take care and be blessed.


Bill Holmes
Poet, Writer and ESSENCE Best Selling Author of One Love
"Every word I write is an extension of my breath, my heart, and my soul that I want the world to share and to remember long after my life has come to an end."

1 comment:

Donna Hill said...

Wow, Bill, I am so glad to hear that there are writers who go through the same process I do in putting a book together. It is time consuming but it is worth it in the end. Good luck as you plow ahead.