Keith MacKenzie 26 letters. A million and more words. No limit to stories.

Happy birthday to me

Saturday, 1 November, 2014

Today’s my birthday. At about 4 a.m. in London, Ontario, in the year of our Lord 1971, out I came with great aplomb. All 8 pounds and some 11 ounces of me, ready to take on the world as we knew it to be at the time. We were in the midst of a weird […]

The importance of lull and flow

Thursday, 28 February, 2013

Came across this great quote when surfing Reddit’s writing subreddit: “This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now […]

What’s playing at the cinema in your head?

Wednesday, 20 February, 2013

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. But I have an excuse – we were moving. We packed up all our shit and we moved across the continent, across the mighty Canada-U.S. border, and landed right smack in Woburn, Massachusetts. I feel like I’ve walked into a Ben Affleck movie. Well, no, not really, but […]

Repurpose your darlings

Monday, 30 July, 2012

There are a few time-honoured and well-used cliches when it comes to whetting your craft as a writer. Among them: 1) Show don’t tell. 2) Don’t use adverbs 3) Kill your darlings. First, show don’t tell. This one’s plainly evident. It’s overused and overtaught but, man, I can’t stress enough the importance of it. Imagine […]

Consistency is the key

Thursday, 14 June, 2012

I’m about 50 pages into Patrick DeWitt’s novel The Sisters Brothers, an enjoyable read and very refreshing fiction for a Canadian like me who’s tired of the three-generational dysfunctional family epics spun by some of Canada’s most respected scribes. Not that I’m a hater of that sort of literature – rather, Canadian post-modern fiction almost […]

Why Jonathan Franzen sounds kind of like an asshole

Monday, 28 May, 2012

Just came across a very frank and personal article penned by Jonathan Franzen of The Corrections fame. In it, he tackles the four most common – and most inane, from his point of view – questions he has been asked by interviewers frothing at the chance to have a face-to-face with one of the writing […]

Sympathy for the writer

Wednesday, 23 May, 2012

Think life’s hard as a writer? Ha! Think again. Back in the day, Billy Shakespeare wrote with a feather. A freakin’ feather! He had a jar of ink, perhaps, that he would dip into every few words, and then carefully and meticulously scrawl away. An average day probably went something like this: (dips ink) To […]

The writing craft on screen

Saturday, 28 April, 2012

In our writers’ group, it seems like we’re always referring to movies – more so than books even – when we want to use something to refer to when talking about storytelling structure. For instance, in our last writers’ meeting, the topic came up about the Hero’s Journey and the importance of caring about a […]

The anatomy of a writers’ group

Wednesday, 11 April, 2012

Everyone’s a critic, as the adage goes. But it’s especially the case when a group of writers get together and assess, analyze, decipher, dissect and evaluate each others’ writing as if they were students in Grade 10 biology class and they have the chance to cut up frogs and identify all the cool little bits […]

Blazes!

Sunday, 25 March, 2012

For those of us on the west coast – and particularly the Pacific Northwest – the recent sunshine comes with fantastic relief. After so many days of heart-shrivelling, wrinkle-forming pissy skies, many of us – especially neurotic writers like myself – were leering out at the so-called great outdoors and silently casting curses at the […]