Update from the Front – 10.25.18

Update from the Front – 10.25.18

I’m in the latter stages of writing the first draft for Kumbaya, Space Hippies, the third book in the Mythniks Cycle. If you’re not hip, this series is a mythological, comedy, action adventure, urban fantasy. Also, like a lot of my stuff, it’s a bit...
5 Reasons I’m Spending October with Clive Barker

5 Reasons I’m Spending October with Clive Barker

5 Reasons I’m Spending October with Clive Barker It’s October, and for Americans, certainly, that means Halloween. Do other countries have Halloween? I could look it up, I suppose, but I’m far too lazy. Anyway, as you know, Halloween is the season for scares. For that...
The Tyranny of Digital

The Tyranny of Digital

I turned eighteen in 1984 so I spent my formative writing years in a pre-digital, pre-mobile device world. Hell, it wasn’t just the formative years. Let’s be generous: good word processing didn’t take hold until the 90s. The iPhone and the iPad are both too young to...
(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...
Premise Keeper

Premise Keeper

I’ve written three essays on plot, all of which can be found on this website. In the first installment, I gave my definition of the term “premise”, and it goes a little something like this: “…it is the springboard or gist upon which a plot can be built. It’s the true...
Plot (Part 3: Conflict)

Plot (Part 3: Conflict)

There’s an old axiom: “drama is conflict”. Without conflict, you have two guys in an empty room with nothing interesting to say or do. If you want a story, you need to get the two guys mad at one another. Allow me to clarify with a charmingly folksy definition of...