(Don’t) Just Dive In

(Don’t) Just Dive In

Just diving in doesn’t work. How do I know? Because it’s my default approach to writing, and I have boxes (and hard drives) full of unfinished stories. But allow me to clarify: By “diving in” I mean writing before your premise has fully percolated. When I have a...
Stingy

Stingy

I have a tendency to write lean — as in close-to-the-bone. In my college days, I was compared to Hemingway from time time, not because I was as good as him, but because I was similarly stingy with detail. I haven’t dissected why it is I’m so terse, but I have three...
It Takes Two 2

It Takes Two 2

I don’t know George R. R. Martin, and I would not presume to speak for him. I am, however, willing to speculate about his motives and processes. It seems to me — and I could be wrong — that Martin is a fan of the father of the High Fantasy genre, J.R.R. Tolkien. That...
It Takes Two

It Takes Two

One idea isn’t enough. If you’re writing fiction, you need two or more concepts in order to have a viable premise. But they can’t be just any old concepts. Preferably, they should be ideas in opposition to one another or which interact in such a way to generate plot...
For Want of a Want

For Want of a Want

Too much is made in writing how-to literature of the main character’s Want, the motivator which propels him through his story. In describing this force in terms of a desire, would-be writing gurus are doing their readers a disservice. Most heroes, I would argue, are...