Silver Pen Ken, July 2019

 “Writers have a great responsibility,” Armando said, “to not waste the reader’s time.” Writers all have the same tools with which to work, just 21 consonants, 5 vowels, 14 punctuation marks and any number of spaces.

Armando is an award-winning writer, born in Colombia and now living in Florida. He has been a novelist, poet, documentalist, cartoonist, strategy consultant and more. His ten published books including four full-length novels. These notes of his presentation on July 2019 are by Maryland Writers Association member, Kenneth Weiss.

 “The key to a novel is conflict,” Armando said.” You must have it. If there is no conflict, there is no novel.”

He creates characters, works to make them unforgettable, and lets them write the story. He does, however promise to get his characters out of whichever messes they get themselves into.

“Don’t try to copy another author’s style,” Armando warned. “Just write and listen to the music of the words.” Also, base your work on your history. “You have to live to be able to write.”

Another important point is to “write cinematographically.” Make the work a series of brief scenes and describe them so well that the reader can see each situation.

Perhaps most interesting, Armando said that where he writes was related to what he writes. His most recent novel, Abril Nace en Enero (April was Born in January), is a mystery and was composed mainly in his quiet studio. His penultimate book, El Niño que me Perdonó la Vida (The Boy Who Spared My Life), relates a true adventure and was written largely in the Colombian jungle. It tells of a guerilla fighter, 12 years old, who once had the author in his gun sights and decided not to pull the trigger. The author was then a Lieutenant in the Colombian Army. Fifty years later, they met, and their story began to take shape.

Finally, said Armando, “promote, promote, promote.” No matter how your book is published, start well before the release date to tell people about it. Do this mainly on the Internet and be creative with your messages.

Beyond publishing, he has discovered that television and movie producers are looking for riveting content, and that is where the real money is.

Kenneth D. Weiss writes memoirs, creative non-fiction and poetry, and translates from Spanish to English. His publications include a book of translated poetry, magazine articles and four books on importing and exporting.  Ken is an active supporter of the annual book fair in Gaithersburg, Maryland and heads a Creative Writers Group in that city. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees, has lived in six countries and traveled to about 80, and speaks three languages.