I have created a new Fan page for my new book on creative Writing: “Jump Starting Your Inner-Novelist to Life” that will be published in July 2015. Please visit and Like my Fan Page…Thanks in advance! https://www.facebook.com/JEThompsonWritingmanual
What a wonderful deal! You can purchase all four of my novels for your spring reading for just $4.00 in the Ebook format…that’s just $1.00 a Novel! You can buy just one or all four for the price of $1.00 for each book. My four published novels are on sale from April 17, 2015 to May 17, 2015 for half price. The regular price for the Ebook is $1.99, but I generated a fifty-percent coupon for each of the novels. The Novels include: A Brownstone in Brooklyn, Philly Style and Philly Profile, the National Gold Medal Award winning The Ghost of Atlanta and Phantoms of Rockwood.. It’s a great deal and now you can purchase all four books at a fantastic price. The sale ends: May 17, 2015! Please follow these instructions to purchase the novels. Thank You for reading my novels! Please enter the code prior to completing the checkout and the website: A Brownstone in Brooklyn https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/58281 Promotional price: $1.00 Coupon Code: HP57S Expires: May 17, 2015 Philly Style and Philly Profile https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52558 Promotional price: $1.00 Coupon Code: YP77V Expires: May 17, 2015 The Ghost of Atlanta https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/485441 Promotional price: $1.00 Coupon Code: HW35S Expires: May 17, 2015 Phantoms of Rockwood https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/353764 Promotional price: $1.00 Coupon Code: WP79E Expires: May 17, 2015
I learned a few things about being a successful author after writing five novels, including a gold medal winner. Nine years of coaching hopeful writers in Evening at Emory University’s Creative writing studio convinced me that budding scribes often make unnecessary mistakes—the same mistakes.
So I thought, “why not flatten the writing curve for writers who have the talent but don’t’ know the tricks of the trade?”
My latest manual, Jump-Starting Your Inner-Novelist to Life! , harnesses nearly a decade of the teaching, writing and editing techniques my most successful students used in getting their books to publication. The manual presents a set of tools for issues such as developing captivating scenes, vivid descriptive details, living in a believable setting and other crucial elements of a successful novel.
I’ve enclosed testimonials from my students who are published authors, testimonials from writers I have tutored, valuable writing tips from my teaching, writing and publishing experiences. These tried and true nuggets of wisdom and advice will be valuable for the twenty-first century author.
I was lounging on a couch on the outside deck of the Starbucks in Tucker, Georgia enjoying a tall “Flat White” coffee drink. It was creamy and good…very good! The sun was hot, and yet a crisp cool breeze washed over the deck and kept me alert as I was reading J.D. Sallinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The traffic on Highway 29 didn’t distract me as I was involved in reading the classic novel.
A few minutes earlier, when I was buying my drink, the barrister smiled, noticing the book, and said, “I remember that book from high school a few years ago.” I smiled and said, “So did I, but many, many, many years ago in high school in Brooklyn.
We both laughed!
What made me go back to my Bushwick High School reading list was a review left about a chapter in one of my novels. At first I was surprised, a little stunned, and read the review a number of times: “Fluid writing style. Plenty of concrete detail that defines the character and the street names of cities I’m not familiar with. I feel as if I’m witnessing Walter with binoculars from a distance. I know who he is, but it’s not enough. Without some stream-of-consciousness I can’t sympathize with his death. He’s just an accident victim on the evening news.”
I leaned back on the couch and thought this reader didn’t know or care about a character in my novel.
As I read and concentrated on the review over and over again, the words “I know who he is, but it’s not enough” kept replaying in my mind. This is what a review is supposed to do for a writer; make an author think.
Now, I am in the midst of writing my next novel, Stormy Winds, the review is giving me food for thought about the development of characters, especially lead character Justin Fleming, This philosophical novel will be released in November 2015.
I keep asking my self, over and over again, what is “Stream of Consciousness” in a novel?
Most people think Stream of Consciousness means: “In literary criticism, stream of consciousness is a narrative mode that seeks to portray an individual’s point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character’s thought processes, either in a loose interior monologue, or in connection to his or her actions.”
Definitions are easy to recite, but what does it mean and how do you make this writing technique work in a novel?
After reading the review, I needed to find examples of Stream of Consciousness. Give me some examples of effective Stream of Consciousness in a successful book! The book that came to mind was The Catcher in the Rye. Well, I was going to read the book again to get a feel for this technique.
Since I didn’t have a good copy of the novel, I purchased the book at the local Barnes & Nobel in paperback, not in E-Book format. The paperback is easier for me to read and read again.
Now, I’m reading this classic again, not as a dreaded high school English assignment, but as a present day author learning from an American Classic book.
What is Stream of Consciousness?
***Is it a character’s random thoughts that cruise through a person’s mind?
***Is it a character reaction to a developing situation?
*** Is it a character going back in time and reacting to an event?
*** Is it a character musing about a future event?
***Are you giving the reader insight into the character and why the person does what he does in the novel? ***
Is it a book told strictly from the first person?
Questions? Questions? Questions?
As I read The Catcher in the Rye, I’m observing how a great author uses this technique to help the reader “Know who the character is!”
From the novel:
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 1, opening words of book
As I’m reading, I’m learning who Holden Caulfield is and what his personality is. This will be a very informative reading adventure and a learning process.
Now, the late afternoon sunlight creates a nice atmosphere on the deck of the Tucker Starbucks, as I carefully read each and every word, phrase and incident to figure out “Stream of Consciousness.”
One thing I’ve learned, over the years, about the writing process is that you never stop learning. You must always have that thirst for knowledge and improvement in your craft. This “Reading Exercise” encourages me in taking the next step in crafting the best novel, Stormy Winds; I can create over the next few months.
Thanks for the review on Authorsden.com
In the middle of Philly Style and Phlly Profile, the action continues as a character named Martha is killed. She knows too much! After Reading the chapter, please click the link and listen to Chapter 23 Podcast..
Meanwhile, Martha walked up 16th Street, pulling the lottery tickets out of her pocket. She concentrated on her numbers. She walked past the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center. It should have been open but it was closed because the recreation leader was sickand there wasn’t anybody to open the building.
As Martha walked up the block to Waterloo Street, the doors to the row houses, that surrounded the recreation center, were closed. The street was filled with Saturday traffic; people walked up and down the block, despite the drug dealing going on around them. A drug house had been torn down across from the recreation center. There was still paraphernalia—filthy needles and smoking pipes, on the ground.
Martha didn’t notice the Deuce-and-a-Quarter coming down the street. When sheheard the rat-a-tat-tat of the rapid-fire automatic weapon, it was too late.First came the sound, and then she fell against the concrete wall as if someone had slammed a Raggedy Ann Doll against that same wall. Her legs buckled and she crumpled into a heap with blood oozing from the wounds.
The lottery tickets, she clasped in her hands, floated away as the wind blew them across the street. People grabbed the tickets and then ran for cover.
Please click on this link to enjoy this Podcast.
Novels are driven by incredible scene construction!
How a writer handles scenes will make a difference between a manuscript that sells, and one that ends up in the slush pile or the author receiving a rejection letter via email or in the mail.
A scene is a unit of drama in a novel.
The concept of a scene in fiction comes from theater, where it describes the action that takes place in a single setting.
The scene as we know it in modern genre fiction is heavily influenced by Hollywood. Life in the 21st century genre novel is a series of quick, dramatic flashes.
When you flesh out a scene, you must either create a show scene or a tell scene to advance your storyline. This will affect your pacing. You can speed up with tell scenes and slow down with show scenes.
When I was writing A Brownstone in Brooklyn, there was a big show scene-sequence in the afternoon, with the evening uneventful and nothing happening—a prelude—to the riots in Brooklyn that rocked the borough.
The next day the riots started!
How I handled this sequence was to create tremendous show scenes for the day before the riots, then tell scenes in the evening, but the next day I was creating show scenes with specific sensory details.
Now, the reader was in the moment and experiences the riots as the flames ate away at the buildings on Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. They smelled the acrid smoke and saw the building crumble.
If I had created show scenes for the evening before the riot, then I would be overwriting and slowed the novel down and the pacing would have been off mark.
When you create scenes with great show/don’t tell scenes you want to do six things:
A. Possible Scene Format:
a. Scene One: Show Scene
b. Scene Two: Transition/Tell Scene
c. Scene Three: Show Scene
B. A scene has the following three-part pattern: Goal, Conflict and Disaster.
Goal: Your goal is to convincingly show your POV (Point OF View) Character experiencing the scene. (For Example, in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, you are standing next to Atticus Finch as Tom Ewell spits in his face. You experience the spit dripping down Finch’s face)
As you construct scenes, you must do this so powerfully that your reader experiences the scene as if he/she were the POV Character. Your reader will identify with the character.
Conflict: is the obstacles your POV character faces on the way to reaching his goal.
Disaster: is a failure to let your POV character reach his goal. Don’t give him the goal without any conflict. Do Not Make It Easy!
C. A scene has three other important elements.
External Motivation: The objective can be in this paragraph. It does not need to be complicated.
Internal Motivation: Internal scream: Present it exactly as your POV character experiences it. This is your chance to make your reader be your POV character. (The character must have either an external or internal motivation—the reader must know why a character reacted a certain way.)
Reflex Reaction: It’s instinctive. You will react rationally: to act, to think, to speak. You must present the full complexity of your character’s reactions in this order.
EM: The man in black sprinted toward John flashing a switchblade.
IR: John turned and a bolt of raw adrenalin shot through his veins.
RR: John pulled a gun out of his shoulder holster, sighted on the man’s chest, and squeezed the trigger, “You’re dead!”
Key: You can’t afford to write one scene, but you must write another scene, and another and another, etc. You will probably have to create hundreds of scenes before your book is complete.
(As a quick creative writing exercise–continue this scene)
AM (Another Motivation):
I’m very interested in reading your continuation of this scene. What is John’s next experience? Be specific—the reader must experience and become part of the John’s reaction as he faces a man lunging at him with a switchblade!
Please leave a comment and visit my website for more helpful hints!
What kind of writer are you…your writing style?
If you are sensitive to critics’ comments, the writing “Rules Police”, experts discussing this issue, with such aplomb that they intimidate, then you must turn a deaf ear to this shrill commentary that says: You must write in a certain style in order to be considered a worthy author.
Your writing is created out of your personality. You must reach deep inside your creative self to find how you will put words on paper.
For me, I’m a “Conversational” writer…what does that mean? I write, as if, I’m having a wonderful conversation, over a glass of wine, with the reader. I’m telling a story and I want to capture the reader’s attention, not with long flowery descriptions, but with simple sentences that build incredible word pictures using active verbs and creative adjectives.
A good example is from my first novel, A Brownstone in Brooklyn,
I wanted to describe how a person’s dreams may be answered, but dreams are fleeting and will come and go with the blink of an eye. They never last and I want the reader to understand if you don’t change you will live in the past looking to keep trying to capture that same dream over and over again:
“The most special times in a person’s life are not meant to last forever. They’re like bubbles rising from a plastic ring dipped into a soapy solution. The soap bubbles rise, with the sun flashing brilliant colors, then bursts into a showery memory mist.”
― J.E. Thompson, A Brownstone in Brooklyn
I wanted to create word pictures that captured this feeling of a fleeting moment in time.
When watching the Miss Marple TV series on PBS, based on Agatha Christie’s books. One episode was based on In Bertram’s Hotel, and Christie said, “the essence of life is change and we have too adjust and change.”
I wanted to create this moment in my book, with my writing style, as Agatha Christie created with her style in her novel.
For example, I love the sixties, but I can’t live in the sixties, but I must adjust to the music and the moments of the 21st Century.
I remembered the moment that changed a nation. Where I was when it was announced that Kennedy had been shot? I was in gym class at Bushwick High School in Brooklyn, New York on a cool November Day in 1962. It is still fresh in my mind the moment my gym teacher, Coach Diamond, told us the news of Kennedy being shot.
We were stunned. Some of us cried.
Now I must live in the rhythm of the 21st century with Hip Hop, Rap the threat of ISIS terrorism and other dominate themes must be lived through if you want to remain relevant in this present age.
My writing has always been crisp, with short sentence like F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), Ernest Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea), Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes were Watching God) and Walter Mosley (Devil In A Blue Dress).
My style is not like Tony Morrison, William Faulkner and other authors that are expert in the long complex sentences. That’s their style.
Authors must find their style with experimentation in different writing styles.
I believe what Polonius said to Hamlet, “To Thine own self be true”
Be true to yourself as you write and experiment.
Don’t imitate, but create your own unique writing style.
Do not ever listen to the “Rules Police.”
I wish you much success in finding your writing style and that will help you write fantastic novels.
In 1995, a long, long time ago when Star Wars was the latest cinema rage, I started to pen my first novel called A Brownstone in Brooklyn. I wanted to write a novel and see could I actually put together a storyline that would interest readers…I wanted just one story published and see it in book form.
Well, I worked long and hard with a few disturbing ups and downs, including bad agents and negative comments and thoughtless critical people trying to keep a wonderful theme and book buried in the files of unpublished books.
I fought against the temptation of quitting.
I kept working and finally came up with a thesis or main idea for the book that was spawned out of my high school and early City College years in New York City: A Brownstone In Brooklyn chronicles the life-altering events that shape the future of Andy Michael Pilgrim, a young man growing up in the turbulent sixties.
Once I got the main idea, then it was many long nights writing. I remember one evening starting to write at 11:00 pm, I’m really a night writer, and working until 4:00 am. That would be good, but I’m a high school teacher and I had to be up at 5:30am and teach seventy juniors and senior high school English all day. That was a long, long day but I kept thinking about the 3,000 plus words I wrote and the wonderful character, Sister Love, that came into existence.
Tonight, I’m sitting at my typewriter on this rainy evening in Atlanta, Georgia, I mean computer (smile). I was using a typewriter in the early nineties, and thinking A Brownstone in Brooklyn will celebrate its’ 15th year of publication in late summer of 2016. That’s right, the book was published in 2001.
I started in 1995 and finished writing the book in late 1999. After editing and many disappoints, including finding a publisher, God Blessed me in 2001 to see the book in print. When the book arrived at my apartment, I ripped open the box and felt the smooth book cover and shed a tear.
One of the greatest thrills of my life was that my mother, Goldie Parks, read Brownstone and one of my greatest fans, Frances Grieff, an English teacher enjoyed my novels before leaving this earth.
I know I have two fans still pulling for me in heaven!
It’s been a long journey, but I’m still enthusiastic about writing and look forward writing many more novels.
Now, A Brownstone in Brooklyn, is on the shelves of Barnes & Nobles brick and mortar stores and on the shelves of public libraries from Chicago to Atlanta.
I want to share with you what has kept me going, from 1995 until today, as I pen my fifth novel, Stormy Winds:
And never give up on your dreams!”
Happy Writing and God Bless you!
J. E. Thompson
DENNIS DE ROSE “DETERMINED D”
This review is from: Philly Style And Philly Profile (Paperback)
This is the second of the Andy Pilgrim trilogy.While the title does not try to explain the book,that was the author`s intent.The title refers to something special specific to the city of Philadelphia only. You have to read the book very carefully to understand what Julius is trying to say. He is being pervasive on purpose. This second book leads into the final of the trilogy, “Ghost of Atlanta”
“Philly Style, Philly Profile” takes place in the 70’s.Andy, a black man, works for the Philly Bulletin.He is immediately confronted by one of the many problems that black men had to deal with then and now…RACISM.That`s just one central issue. Added, we find out that he is slated to cover high school sports and we are immediately introduced to 2 more very dangerous threats…DRUGS and GANGS.
Andy gets caught up deeply in this mix when he befriends Carl, an up and coming basketball player whose getting ready to go off to college in just a few days. I won`t spoil the story for you but I will say that it`s extremely fast paced and relevant for the times. Of course all cities big and small sadly still face these same issues.
You will read this and, once you do, you`ll want to continue the saga in “Ghost of Atlanta”.I would be remiss if I did not take a moment and mention the fantastic editing in this super story. I read this, looking for mistakes and I found very few. My hat`s off to Julius’ editor, Moneysaver Editing. Keep writing Julius, great job!
By Steven C. Thedford
Too often on the news we hear of African American males who have succumb to violence and drugs. After a while, we do not care why, we just hope and pray that we are not caught in the crossfire. However, in Philly Style and Philly Profile Thompson does not let us ignore them, as society would like to. Moreover, he introduces the reader to some of these young men and their fears, hopes, desires, and beliefs. Even though the story takes place in the seventies, Philly Style and Philly Profile occurs every night in America
Philly Style And Philly Profile
By Alberto Romero
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another remarkable novel by Julius Thompson. In Philly Style and Philly Profile he takes the reader through the streets of the City of Brotherly Love and shows us, with engaging and touching down-to-earth prose, the good and evil, the hate and love in the lives of hostile and violent young people, some of whom are saved thanks to the constant help of dedicated community counselors. A troubled side of the great city of Philadelphia, portrayed vividly by a brilliant storyteller.
By J. Squires
The greatest compliment one can pay the author of his memoirs is: “I know those people! I really do!” While reading this novel, I feel privileged to sit at the table beside Andy (Mr. Julius Thompson) while his mama, Golda, dishes out a sumptuous ~ though modest ~ feast.
My hand is in Andy’s. My other hand is in Andy’s Step-father’s (Marvs) strong, black hand while, following his example, we bow our heads, and feel his love and his deep and unshakable faith as he leads us in grace. Mr. Julius Thompson takes us on a literary journey through the tempestuous sixties.
His main character, Andy Michael Pilgrim, has a dream ~ a dream in an environment and generation that could easily crush a less enduring black man’s dreams. With riots and death all around him, Andy persists in the pursuit of his dream. With the love of his life, Leslie, beside him, Golda’s love (leaning heavily on him, sometimes, as a mother’s love will tend to do), Marvs’ guidance and love giving him direction, and a whole wacky cast of lovable characters ~ his extended family ~ urging him on, Andy moves relentlessly forward, overcoming towering obstacles, until his dream is realized…
Yes, I know those people. I love those people. And, thanks to Julius Thompson and his book, “A Brownstone In Brooklyn,” you’ll find youself knowing and loving them, too.
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
A Brownstone in Brooklyn chronicles a short but critical portion of the life of Andy Michael Pilgrim. Andy has grown up in a Brownstone on Gates Avenue in Brooklyn and all of its residents have contributed to his upbringing. However, this book takes place during a turbulent time in American history. The civil rights movement seems to be taking a more violent turn, and young men across the nation are being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War…
The lively cast of characters keep this novel fresh and entertaining while the plot keeps you on the edge of your seat. Thompson does a wonderful job highlighting how people’s lives are influenced by the types of choices they make. He also highlights how much one person’s actions can impact the lives of others in meaningful ways. The book started out a little slow, but gradually picked up momentum. I would have liked a bit more character development for Andy’s character earlier in the book. In the early parts of the book I felt like I was reading about his day to day life without enough background to really care about his character, but by the end I felt like I knew him well. A Brownstone in Brooklyn is an enjoyable read that truly demonstrates that it takes a village to raise a child.
A Sentimental History Lesson
By Amazon Customer
In “A Brownstone In Brooklyn,” Mr. Julius Thompson paints a picture of life in Brooklyn during the turbulent 60’s. It’s the story of how good people can be oppressed and held down for so long that they must resort to “any means necessary” to overcome, and how one’s family is not always defined by a blood line. It’s also the story of how one such extended family bands together to raise an extraordinary young man, our main character, Andy Michael Pilgrim. Mr. Thompson shows us what life was like for a young man during the Vietnam War as the Civil Rights Movement took a sudden violent turn after the death of Dr. King, and how many young men, without the love given to Andy by his extended family, didn’t make it. This is an excellent story, and an excellent lesson, that I highly recommend for readers of all ages.