I want this persona to be off-putting and standoffish, so I open it with a visual metaphor with a double meaning: first, it's the most frazzled and intimidating photo of an author I could find, and second, it is a photo of Leo Tolstoy, whose work is intimidating no matter how much of a teddy bear he actually was. I used complex sentence structure to make the writing style intimidating, and as much passive voice as I could shove into it. I never mention my name in order to create distance. I close the autobiography with a veiled threat. He seeks to instruct, but not willingly.


What Twenty Two Years of Writing Does to You.

The author is the critically acclaimed writer of six novels published by Bantam, Doubleday, Dell, Harper Collins, and Simon and Schuster: The Walls of Pedro Garcia, Pecking Order, Sun Dance, Switch, Praying to a Laughing God, and The Other Side. Praying to a Laughing God and The Other Side were nominated by Simon and Schuster for the National Book Award. In addition, Praying to a Laughing God was a finalist for the Dashiell Hammett Prize, awarded to the best crime fiction novel published in North America. In addition, the author has been awarded a Bush Artist Fellowship and a Fellowship for Literature from the McKnight Foundation. He has served as an Edgar Awards judge for the finest mystery novel published in North America and as a judge for literary magazine awards involving cash prizes and publication.

The author has worked as a successful teacher of writing for nearly twenty years, teaching hundreds and guiding several students to published work. He has also worked as a nuclear reactor operator, a health club manager, and, while in the Navy, participated in overt and covert military operations in Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and northern South America. He lives and writes in northern Minnesota where he runs and trains a sled dog team, driving them as hard as he does novice writers.

FRIENDLY WRITER--This will be the persona for TIO.

In this persona I wanted to create a friendly intimacy, so I kept the sentence structure simple, wrote it in first person, and refer often to the reader. I open it with a greeting and close it with a thank you. I added reassurances that the process of writing can be painless. Rather than writing in imperatives, I've used suggestions. I've condensed my own writing resume in order to avoid intimidation. I've avoided references to the literary judgments I've made in the past. This guy is meant to be eager to instruct.

Hi! I'm Kevin McColley, and I've been a writer for more than twenty years, publishing in that time six novels as well as numerous short pieces in magazines and journals. If you’re looking for a page turning mystery (and you’re a younger reader), you might want to take a look at SWITCH, a young adult mystery written for teenagers. If you’re an older reader but still a mystery buff, you might want to try PRAYING TO A LAUGHING GOD. If history is more your taste, try my civil war novel, THE OTHER SIDE. If you like travel, then I recommend my road trip novel, SUN DANCE. I’ve also written novels set in Mexico and the farm country of Minnesota.

In addition to writing for more than twenty years, I've been a teacher of writing for sixteen. I've had many students who came to me not knowing even how to put the first sentence down for their novel, who, a year or two later, were staring at a book contract for that very project. I've had many students who have seen their writing dreams come true under my tutelage. I’m known for making the process as painless as possible.

When I’m not teaching and writing, I’m running a sled dog team in northern Minnesota, made up of huskies with names like Lena and Greta, Ajax, and Gritz. They like running with me almost as much as new novelists like learning from me how to write. Thanks for reading this!

My professional website.


I was after a middle ground for this persona. I avoided long and complex sentence structures and passive voice, but avoided direct references to the reader. I also avoided using first person voice. This persona uses a lot of detail on his experience to inform.


Kevin McColley knows the outdoors. He lives in a one hundred year old farm house deep in the northern woods that he renovated himself, heating it with wood he has cut himself, and feeding himself with food he has raised or gathered out of the woods. For fourteen years he has run a sled dog team through the northern Minnesota forests, logging over twenty thousand miles with his team and traveling through areas so remote that few, or no, people have seen them in perhaps eighty years. In addition to his outdoor adventures in the North, he has also walked vast lengths of the Appalachian trail, much of the New Mexican desert, and has lived for six years at sea. He’s also lived in and hiked through the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming and the Jicarilla Mountains of Central New Mexico. He’s cross country skied and snowshoed through much of the Minnesota northern forest. He’s built a cabin with little more than a chainsaw and a sledge hammer. If it’s done outdoors, then Kevin has probably done it.

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