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Kill the Casual Observers

Not long ago, I watched a squall blow in off the Gulf of Mexico. Sudden and scary, it appeared out of nowhere and was gone as soon as it came.

I watched its birth and death from a ninth-floor rented unit, its balcony on the southeastern corner of the high rise. The storm drenched the balcony, but not me, because I stood behind the sliding glass door that led out to the open air.

It struck me as I stood there watching how much the scene was a metaphor for the writing life. And it made me realize that we, as writers, must kill all the casual observers we conjure up to tell our tales.

If we have no skin in the game, we have no story worth telling. If we are detached from the battle, sitting in the cheap seats and getting drunk while our protagonist fights for his life, what good are we?

We, as writers, are not journalists working on a deadline bit. Rather we are bringing a slice of life to the reader, a slice so real she can taste it, feel it, long for it, fear it.

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