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Thoughts on National Novel Writing Month

We're two days into National Novel Writing Month. As I write this, I'm 10k words into my novel and it feels good to finally be working on it after a month of prep work.

But how can NaNo help you?

Well, it can do a lot of things.

Personally, I think the two most important aspects of NaNo are the community you can find and the encouragement into a daily writing habit.

During November, writers seem to come out of the woodwork like termites. They're everywhere. Some of these writers are only NaNoers, though, and they're not going to help you maintain your habits through the year and be part of your regular community. But you're going to be going to write-ins at your local area, mixing with others who are dedicated to at least write one book. You'll find people you click with. You'll be on the forums and in the chatrooms, finding that tribe of people near you that you need.

I feel like all writers need that tribe of creative people who know exactly what their a…
Recent posts

Why You Should Write Short Stories

In some of his books, Kurt Vonnegut lamented the diminishing magazine market because that's where you found short stories. And short stories were the best place for writers to hone their craft. There are a lot of ways this system helped writers do this, and, in a culture with allegedly dwindling attention spans reign, short stories can still be a great place to learn.

But what should you be doing? What should you be looking to get out of short stories? How can they help?

Well, here's a list of ideas I have about the subject:

Short stories are short - This might sound obvious, but there are a lot of layers to this one. In a format so short, it gives you a lot of room to stretch your creativity and try out new things without feeling chained to them. Sometimes, writing a novel or a screenplay, even one you love implicitly, can get to be sort of a slog. When you weigh taking new stylistic risks you might hate 20,000 words into a novel, you might not go for it. A short story, thoug…

Hints for Revision

Welcome back, everyone. I've had a lot of conferences and conventions over the last month and feel like I've been neglecting all five of you who faithfully read this space. I'm sorry. I'll try to let less time pass between each post.

Though I must admit, November will probably be light, too, as I'll be cranking on a book for National Novel Writing Month. I haven't been working on drafting a new novel in a few months. I did take a break and wrote a feature-length screenplay in the time between this post and my last.

But I've been doing a lot of revision lately. Like, a lot. I got into this cycle of just writing novels and then writing the next one. And then the next one. I literally have 11 manuscripts I'm sitting on. And I'm in the midst of editing my fifth one in this cycle. It's slow going work. I feel like it takes me longer to revise a book than write it. It's more thoughtful work. And it's more discerning. You're rewriting thin…

Salt Lake Comic Con 2017 Schedule

It's time for another year of Salt Lake Comic Con and another hectic schedule for me. But! that doesn't mean it's not a helluva lot of fun. I hope you're able to join me at any of these panels. Especially if you like Star Wars. And please, please, please come to my signing and visit. Get some books signed. I'd love that enormously.

Here is my Thursday schedule:


Everything here is a highlight. That first panel about behind the scenes of the prequels is with Pablo Hidalgo and I'll be asking him questions about what it was like to be there on set for most of the prequels. Then I'll be asking questions of Michael Biehn, who I've been a fan of since I was a little kid. Aliens and Terminator were favorites. If you want to ask him a question, please hit me up on Twitter with it. I will ask it at the panel.

And you don't want to miss Fauxthentic History's Infinity Gauntlet live episode. It's going to be soooo good.

Here is Friday:


There's a lot…

A Surprise Writing Award....

Some of you may remember that I'm working on a short film. It's been a long process. We started filming in April. I'm still working on post-production. The film only clocks in at 19:11, even with credits, but there's a lot of work packed into those minutes. And I'm still doing it.

So you can imagine my surprise when I messaged a friend and said, "Do you know anyone who can help with audio?"

And he responded with, "Yes, but can you get a 10-minute version of your rough cut together and preview some scenes at a film festival? In a few weeks...?"

Imagine my surprise when I said yes.

I worked really hard to get a cohesive version of half the film together that would be worth the time of a festival going audience, something that would show what I was capable of if the film got finished and a taste of what the film would feel like.

I spent a great day in Helper, Utah, the most fascinating mining town nestled right up next to the mountains. I've a…

My Dragon Con 2017 Schedule

It's time again for another year of Dragon Con. This is one of my favorite conventions every year and they keep me busy.

Here is my tentative schedule and I hope to see you there. (Especially for my reading. There's nothing worse than reading to an empty room.)


Title: The Last Jedi Fan Speculation 
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: A601-A602 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: *SPOILER ALERT* *PURE SPECULATION* We are not insiders. We are not members of the Star Wars StoryGroup. We know what you know, but we're not afraid to dream & speculate. Maybe we'll finally find out in December who Rey's parents are--and where has Luke been...?

Title: Reading: Bryan Young 
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Vinings - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Author, geek, podcaster, magazine and comics writer; documentary producer reads from his works.

Title: Better Diversity for a Better Story 
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Hanover AB - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: There are a l…

Anatomy of a Scene: The Third Man

It's time again to break down a classic scene. One that's well-written and, in my view, a fine example of excellent craft.

I've done some of these articles from books (like The End of the Affairand Starship Troopers) and other movies (like Citizen Kane, City Lights, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), but now it's time to take a look at a scene from The Third Man. It blends the best of Orson Welles (as he's in the film and drives this scene) and Graham Greene, who wrote this particular screenplay.

Before we get to the scene, we need some context.

The Third Man is a tale of the black market in Vienna, just after World War II. It's about a cheap, dime-store Western novelist named Holly Martins (played by Joseph Cotton) and his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles.) Lime offered Martins a job in Vienna, so Martins leaves America and arrives, only to find that Harry Lime is dead. Penniless, without a friend or reason to be in the country, h…