This is an author's blog written by Pico Triano. 'Pico's Profile' will tell you a little about me. 'Pico's Stuff' will lead you to links and information on how you can access all my publicly available writing. 'Friends and Family' advertises websites on behalf of family and friends. The 'Friend Book Reviews' page is where I review materials written by the many friends I have made as a writer. Finally I recently added a review page for general reviews.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Please Do NOT Repeat That!

Today is my last day of retraining to work in the customer care department. Part of our training has been spent "shadowing" more experienced representatives. Because of the time of day our class is run, we don't get to listen to the cream of the crop. Most of them are newbies fresh off the street.

The other day a customer complained that the representative had apologized (with the same phrase) fifteen times during the call. He exaggerated. It was only eight. I couldn't help but count. I'm sick of hearing the words certainly and definitely. Not only are they evil adverbs, the bain of decent writers everywhere but after hearing them about fifty times each per day you just want to scream. 

That of course has reminded me of an important writing tip. Constantly repeated words and phrases don't sound any better in writing than they do in speech. They could well sound worse. There are of course exceptions but in general find other ways to say the same thing if need be.

We all do it. We all have favorite words and phrases. Getting rid of them is an important part of editing your work. 

Not picking on anyone here by the way. This was wholy inspired by listening to badly managed customer care calls.

*This article was first written on Bubblews. If you are interested in participating on that site my referral link is:

Confession of a Former Poetry Hater

In high school the most boring part of the most boring class was poetry. Most of us guys absolutely hated poetry. Don't blame our instructors. It's hard to push through the perception that poetry is for wimps and wusses. To their credit I learned something and as I matured and developed my own writing, I started to appreciate the art of poetry.

Do you want to be a serious writer? Even if you don't intend to write a single poem in your entire life, you should take the time to study. The reason is simple the elements of poetry don't just happen in poems and if you understand and recognize them you can use them to make your own writing better.

I'm not going to go into exhaustive detail because when it comes to poetry I'm no expert. I write books, short stories and articles. I still understand the importance of the way the words sound and the rhythm of my sentences. They help me create moods and strengthen the emotional reactions of my readers. Believe it or not I deliberately create an overall rhythm between my chapters and scenes. I know also that throwing in a strong poetic image can have a dramatic impact in the right place. I even deliberately add rhymes here and there because they sound right. In the end, if I've written a book, I want my readers to finish the book satisfied. When they get to the end, the images and symbolism that I've cultivated since the first page need to all come together. I learned a great deal of that in poetry class.

So to my English teachers in high school, Mr. Zelickovics, Mr. Lafontaine, Mr Bauer and Ms. Read, I know I probably wasn't much fun to teach but I actually learned something in your class. I didn't appreciate it then but I do now. Thank you!

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*This article was first written on Bubblews. If you are interested in participating on that site my referral link is:

Symbolism Has No Real Value - What?!

This came up as an argument by some in favor of doing away with a lot of doctrines during a major religious upheaval in a church I once attended. I get that there are a lot of different points of view and I'm tolerant to those ideas but the notion that anything with purely symbolic meaning has no value to me is an idiotic argument. 

This isn't my point of view as a religious person. It's what I think as a civilized human being and a writer. My point here isn't religious at all. It's about the real value of symbols.

Without symbols I couldn't write this and you couldn't read it. Language is all symbols. We have assigned meaning to certain patterns of sound and written patterns to be able to communicate with each other. If I changed the symbols I'm using to another language, you might not be able to understand my meaning. How important are symbols? (It's important enough that Bubblews made a rule about language on the site).

If you have a job, your boss gives you money representing the work you do for him or her. You can use that money to buy things you need like food. Money is a medium of exchange. It has symbolic meaning. If everyone decided tomorrow that the Canadian dollar was worthless, it would be worthless. It would look the same, but have no meaning. How important are symbols?

The truth is we are surrounded by symbols everyday, everywhere all the time. As a married man it is really easy to accidentally do something to symbolically offend my wife, or a friend or anyone. Symbols and symbolism are huge.

If you consider yourself a serious writer, you discount symbolism at your peril. Your personal writing is full of symbols both consciously put on the page and unconsciously. You may pick up a book and not be aware of it but it is there. One of the things I do as a writer is first be aware of the symbols I'm creating and working with and then deliberately develop and deepen them as the story goes. It makes my writing better. 

For me throwing something away because it has only symbolic meaning is incomprehensible. You don't have to believe like I do, but give me a better reason than that or don't give me a reason at all. 

*This article was first written on Bubblews. If you are interested in participating on that site my referral link is:

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Editing - Blind To My Own Mistakes

You just completed the first draft of your first novel and you thought you were done. Editing is hard work. It took me more man hours of work editing my first book "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" than it took to write it. Worse like a lot of writers, I'm completely blind to a lot of my mistakes. I can have a sentence that makes absolutely no sense and can read it thirty times and not see anything wrong with it. Sometimes I need a little help (maybe a lot of help).

Never fear there is help out there and you can find it. It doesn't have to cost you anything if you are broke. That just might mean looking harder and being a little more patient. There are people who make money from editing. There are a couple things you can do without anyone else's help and that is where you should start.

First thing to do is take that wonderful rough draft of yours, put it away and forget about it for at least a couple weeks. While you've forgotten about it temporarily, write something else or educate yourself further about the nuts and bolts of writing. Look for resources online or at the library. After that you will see your work with fresh eyes and you'll be ready to start working it over.

Before I go into a massive edit, I like to get feedback from some fellow writer friends. Online or local writing communities and groups can be great for this. I am at times quite active on and Book Junkies on Facebook. It is a give and take deal, so you better be prepared to give back. Friends in those types of places can make a big difference. I have one friend from named Glenda who loves the characters I write and has reviewed a great deal of my work just because she likes it. She's good too. She now works as a freelance editor/writer at Literature Editing by Glenda.  She is the only person I know who has perfect grammar and punctuation throughout her rough draft writing. I wish I could do that. She tells me she wishes she could create characters as real and compelling as mine. Everyone has different strengths.

I'm lucky to have my own in home writing group. I have four children with writing aspirations and I do have them critique my work.

Once I've gathered everything together I go to work. I look at every criticism and comment and consider it. Especially the ones I disagree with or that have somehow hurt my delicate feelings. Those are often the ones that make me better. I am probably my own worst critic granted I'm sure some troll will eventually come along and help me out on that one. 

It's tough work. Sometimes painful work but if you want to be a serious writer it has to be done. I think publishers know if you've made the effort to pay your dues.

*This like some of my other posts was first published on Bubblews. I write there for practice and fun. Once in a while there is something like this that I think has enough merit to be added here.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Passed a Couple of Milestones

I submitted my first redemption on Bubblews today. We'll see how long it takes for the payment to come through. I don't have any doubt they pay. Plenty of friends there have been earning payout regularly. Still was nice to get to that point. That means I have already earned more there than I ever did in my entire Mylot career.

I could have posted and boasted about this achievement on Bubblews and I know that a lot of people would have hit comment and like on it. I just don't really feel comfortable about getting paid for what I regard as a garbage post. I'm surprised they allow it.

Another recent milestone was reaching 5000 views on That really doesn't seem like such a big deal when I see how fast views are piling up on Bubblews but it is a different format with a different purpose. I don't get paid there but I get a lot of peer feedback on my writing. Something I can't get enough of.

I did let the kids borrow my review template from that site for doing their own reviews. Being more naturally computer savvy than their old dad, Mieke and Andrew both have more visually appealing templates after they personalized it. I might get them to help me spruce mine up. I'm starting to feel a little bit jealous.

My blog here is inching closer to one thousand visitors. What I'm proud of is that my page views here is two and a half times that. That means that visitors are looking around the site when they visit. I find that encouraging. Makes me feel like I'm doing something right on this blog.

Still working on Rat in the Shadows. Dealing with quite a bit of turmoil in my personal life but I still hope to have something worth submitting to my publisher this fall.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Why I Write On Bubblews is a social networking website where the posters get paid for their posts. I have three reasons for participating there and yes one of them is the fact that they pay me for my work.

Within the basic rules of the site you can write whatever you want. As long as you stay within the rules, you will get paid. You can claim your payout as soon as your bank within the site reaches twenty-five dollars. Some members can do that in a week. I don’t have a great deal of time to devote to the site so I’m happy if I can reach payout once in a great while. I don’t view my time spent here as a job, so the money is really a bonus. There is one big caution when it comes payout. When you submit for payout, if even one of your posts breaks the rules your balance will go back to zero and you will not be paid. Follow the rules and you will earn money. I don’t feel sorry for anyone who didn’t get paid because they didn’t follow the rules. The rules are listed in your bank when you get your account. They are reasonable and straightforward. Make sure you read and understand them before you start.

The rate of pay is a complex calculation but from experience, I’m getting about a penny for every view, like, share, post and comment on my posts. You don’t get paid for commenting on other member’s work but if you expect them to pay any attention to your work you need to pay attention to theirs.

That brings me to the social aspect of the site. I migrated to Bubblews from another paid posting site called Mylot. I was over there for years and developed a core of good solid Internet friends. Mylot decided to stop paying and just be a social site. We all left because not only did the money dry up but so did the social part we were enjoying. Arriving together at Bubblews had its advantages. We did our best to help each other find our feet in a new environment.

On Bubblews it is important to “connect” with other members. Connecting means you get notifications every time your friends post, comment on your posts, comment on your comments, one of your posts or comments are liked and whenever another member mentions you in a post. Notifications are the one real sore spot for me with this site. Because I’m not always on, the sheer volume of notifications overwhelms me. Administration will eventually deal with this I’m sure because I’m not the only one who has issues with it. I short-circuit the problem right now by creating a bookmark folder with my faithful Internet friend’s profile links. This way when I do have time to spend on the site I can first go and catch up with everyone. After that I go wading through my notifications. I’ll connect with anyone who connects with me.

My third reason for being on the site is to practice my writing. It gives me an excuse to write small pieces on a variety of topics. Whatever pops into my head that doesn’t fit into my regular writing goes there. Keeps me producing work in spite of an extremely restricted schedule. A lot of the articles I write for my personal writing blog often get published on Bubblews first. After all, I get paid.

Anyone reading this who is not already a member of Bubblews, I would be happy to refer you. I get paid for that too. Here’s the link:  Incidentally I write there under the user name koopharper.