Entries by Mary Maddox

Ancient Children Reloaded

If you’ve been here before, you probably notice that the site looks different. I’ve moved from Quick BlogCast to my hosting domain and rebuilt Ancient Children using WordPress. In many ways Quick Blogcast is easier to use, but it allows fewer design options than WordPress, and I’ve received a few complaints that the site wouldn’t display properly on […]

Pictures of My Brother

Lately I’ve been sorting through piles of snapshots inherited from my grandmother. On the back of each one she diligently noted the date and who was in the shot. I’m grateful to her for that. Sometimes I can’t recognize faces from long ago.The purpose of my project is to find photos of Steve, scan them, and […]


Birth Place

I used to have a recurring dream about Soldier Summit, the dying town high in the mountains of Utah where my parents began their marriage and my brother and I first lived. Though it has been years, my memory of the dream remains vivid. I am hiking along a road with snowbanks on both sides and […]



In my heart I keep hoping each new piece of technology will be the spark that sets my writing on fire. I wasn’t always this way. Once I detested the term “word processing,” which seemed to imply that the act of writing was like pulverizing fruit in a blender. My techno-lust began the day Joe […]


Prologue to a Prologue

I was halfway through the latest revision of Chasing the Light when I realized it needed a prologue. In a novel the prologue usually presents an event that belongs to the story but outside the plot – something happening beforehand or afterward or elsewhere that influences or explains the main action. I wanted the prologue […]


No Strings Attached

In a post a couple of weeks ago, All Characters Must Die , I wondered why readers care so fiercely about fictional characters. I figured the key was identification and empathy. Readers find enough of themselves in the characters to climb inside their fictional skin and experience the story. But understanding isn’t enough. As a […]

I Should Be Grading Papers

When I began this blog I promised myself not to whine about my tribulations as a writer. I don’t have an agent anymore, my novel isn’t a bestseller, I have to work as a teacher to support myself, etc. Poor me. Given the tragedy and hardship many people face daily, nobody is going to care […]


All Characters Must Die

In Stephen King’s Misery a novelist finds himself at the mercy of a fan infuriated because he has killed off her favorite character in his latest book. The woman is obviously a lunatic, yet a few days ago I found myself sympathizing with her. At the very least I wanted to write fantasy novelist George […]


I first encountered the word ineffable when I was thirteen or fourteen in a dusty old novel from the library in Heber, Utah. I remember nothing of the novel, not even the title, nothing except the image of moonlight shining through the high window of some castle, its beauty ineffable. I found the word in the dictionary […]


She Went North

Narratives are often classified as plot driven or character driven. In plot-driven works such as thrillers, events happen to the characters, who are defined by their reactions. In character-driven works, characters shape the events and outcome of the story. The categories seem simple and obvious – until l sit down to write. I’m nearing the end of a […]

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Songs that Make Me Cry

Songs don’t exactly make me cry. I have to accept the invitation, and many times I say no. But when I say yes, I usually feel better afterward. I’ve never understood the mystery in music, how patterns of sound affect the brain and evoke emotion, with or without words. Certain songs combine music and lyrics in […]


My Beautiful Dreams All Fade into the Last

             Family dinner on a winter porch.         Our table, too large, squeezes us         against fogged glass. My chair wobbles.        Others, more privileged, are eating         inside the house. I complain, but         someone whispers the man who shares         the house is sick, it may be cancer.         The others crowd onto the porch.         My chair collapses. I reach for         another, not to sit on but to hold         the glass of […]