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Behind The Words

A journal by Barbara Wood

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Happy Holidays!!

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 23, 2007 06:46

(image of person raising hands to sky)

Happy Holidays Everybody!

May all your wishes come true.



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A Christmas Carol

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 18, 2007 05:58

(image of person raising hands to sky)

The other night I watched what is possibly the hundredth version of the Charles Dickens classic, starring, of all people, Tori Spelling!  I loved it.  Although the story is always the same (a miserable, curmudgeonly person is visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, and is ultimately changed by the experience) the myriad recountings of this beloved tale doesn’t always involve the usual “old man” Scrooge (although the most recent version starring Patrick Stewart is the best of that particular lot).  In one version, Cycely Tyson plays miserly Ebenita, and Vanessa Williams does a great mean-spirited diva named Ebony Scrooge in another.  My personal favorite is Susan Lucci as “Ebbie,” and now we have Tori Spelling in A Carol Christmas.

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Alex Trebek

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 13, 2007 12:02

I was very sorry to hear that one of my favorite TV personalities suffered a heart attack on Tuesday.  Mr. Trebek has brought hours of enjoyment into my home by way of the popular quiz show, Jeopardy.  Alex (I feel I can call him that as he has appeared in my living room thousands of times) has always struck me as a very nice person, warm and amiable and gracious (well, he’s Canadian so that tells you a lot.)

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Two For the Price of One

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 11, 2007 05:28

(image of person raising hands to sky)

I am frequently asked for advice on how to write.  And just as frequently, I get requests for inspiration.  So here are two for the price of one.

While I do not write non-fiction, I do nonetheless strive for accuracy, realism and truth in my writing, because people believe the printed word.  And so my advice pertains to both genres, fiction and non-fiction: be sure of your facts and be prepared to back them up.  Don’t do shoddy research.  Be meticulous.  Readers are placing faith in you.

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Lucky Number 13

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 04, 2007 04:49

As this is the thirteenth entry in the Blog of my newly upgraded, refurbished, re-designed, updated, modernized and beautified website (thank you Sharon, Carlos and Johnny!) I thought an exploration of “luck” was in order.

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"Raw Oysters and Whiskey"

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 27, 2007 05:51

I was writing a scene this morning in which a character is offered a plate of raw oysters.  She politely says, “No thank you,” while trying not to look squeamish.  The hostess does not take offense, but says instead, “I understand.  Raw oysters are an acquired taste.”

As I wrote those words, I thought of the many times I have heard or read that phrase, and it never really made me stop and think – until now.

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"Where To Begin?"

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 20, 2007 12:41

(image of page and pen)

People frequently say to me, “I want to write a novel, but I don’t know where to begin.”  Surprisingly, the answer is not always, “Start on the first page.”  There are no rules in writing.  Whatever works for you is what you should do.  If you can’t muster up Page One, then start in the middle (if you know what your characters are going to be doing at that stage).  Or start with a description, or dialogue, and build upon it.

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Shanghai Surprise!

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 13, 2007 04:31

(image of Shanghai reading group)

No, Shanghai Surprise isn't the name of a fruity drink with a little umbrella in it. Although it does refer to something just as sweet. An amazing event took place in my life last week and it involves my living room, a reading group of Latin American ladies, my book GREEN CITY IN THE SUN, and the Chinese city of Shanghai.

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The Devil Is In the Details

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 12, 2007 13:04

(image sea captain)

I just finished reading a fine attempt at a historical novel that ultimately failed.  The story was good – great, even, with lots of action and adventure, exotic locales, lovely little surprises, twists and turns.  So why did it fail (for me, at least)?  The author had not done a good enough job of making me see or “feel” the characters and settings.

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"Trick or Treat"

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 12, 2007 13:05

(image of children tick or treating)

It’s Halloween again and, once more, I am mystified. 

This is one holiday I just don’t get.  All other holidays – from New Year’s to Christmas – have warm, fuzzy connotations.  Valentine’s Day is hearts and flowers and love, Easter is about bunnies and new hats, Memorial and Labor Day honor heroes in the military and the labor force, (even Fourth of July tempers its fireworks and implication of martial violence with Mom’s apple pie).

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My Battle With the Adverb

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 12, 2007 13:06

(image of woman frustrated with computer)

I confess, I was addicted.  Many beginning writers have a problem with adjectives.  This is a universal given.  My problem had always been with adverbs.  (To refresh: an adjective modifies a noun and an adverb modifies an adjective and a verb)  In my early works, if anything could be done, it could be done happily, sadly, smashingly, haltingly, poorly, smartly.  No verb in any writing of mine was left without a description, and if one adverb worked well, then two must be twice as good! 

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Lessons from My Favorite Actor

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 06, 2007 04:58

(image of pumpkins)

I adore Michael Caine.  I have been a huge fan since the fabulous epic, “Zulu” (1964), in which he played the toffee-nosed Lt. Gonville Bromhead, so brilliantly (and nasally) delivering the line: “Who told you you could use my men?”

To coincide with the debut of his new movie, “Sleuth,” a remake of the 1972 film in which he shared billing with Laurence Olivier, last Friday’s Los Angeles Times carried an interview with Mr. Caine (October 12, 2007, by Patrick Goldstein).  While the actor had many interesting things to say about his life and his career, what jumped off the page for me was his advice to aspiring actors, because it is spot-on for aspiring writers as well.

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Words That Are Like Children: seen but not heard.

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 29, 2007 05:29

I was chatting with a friend the other day and he commented on the current halcyon weather.  While he went on about the wispy clouds and endless blue sky, I found myself stuck on “halcyon,” and it occurred to me that this is one of those words you always read but rarely hear.

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October Light

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 29, 2007 05:29

(image of pumpkins)

Believe it or not, Southern California does have seasons, and fall in SoCal is my favorite! Our leaves change and drop to the ground, like everybody else’s, our days grow cool and our nights chilly, but we also have those lovely Santa Ana winds at this time of the year, that sweep down from the northeastern deserts and clear the air so that, as we say, you can see all the way to Catalina.

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The Harry Potter Phenomenon

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 29, 2007 05:31

Newspaper journalists and radio hosts often ask me what I think of the Harry Potter sensation.  Many published authors, it seems, are resentful of the attention and the money that goes that way instead of into “literary” works.  My response is: kudos to J.K. Rowling!

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Just Do It!

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 29, 2007 05:41

No, I’m not plugging Nike here.  In a recent radio interview I was asked what advice I give to aspiring authors.  One word: “Perseverance.”  If you desire to publish someday, get your ideas or stories out there, then just stick to it, write, get those words down, and don’t let anything, or anyone, stand in your way.

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Are Movies Re-Writing History?

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 29, 2007 05:42

Inaccuracy in history-oriented films are the bane of my existence for two reasons: 1) the audience takes what it sees on the silver screen as gospel; 2) in writing my historical novels, I am fanatical about being accurate as I feel I have a duty to the reader.

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Christmas in September !!

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 27, 2008 06:46

(image of Barbara on sofa)

As I write this, we are experiencing record high temperatures in my Southern California neck of the woods!  I have a coffee cup image on my website, homage to my love of (and need for) coffee.  But today, iced coffee (heavy on the ice) is what I am currently sipping!  So why do I feel like a kid on Christmas morning ready to dive into so many goodies? My gifts on this sweltering 100+ degree day come in the form of  a new website, a new book, my Barbara Wood Collection and my first ever blog!

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Soup Anyone?


Happy Father's Day


School's Out!

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Aug 08, 2018

New Book in Germany: Das Goldene Tal

May 12, 2018

Hippokratova přísaha

Nov 27, 2017

My Next Book - The Far River

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Copyright © 2007 by Barbara Wood. All rights reserved.