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The End of an Era and a New Beginning

It's been a long time coming, but I think an upgrade to my web presence was long overdue. I began this blog in 2005 and it's served me well over the last 13 years. My goal in those early days was to write a short story every month. Back then, that was the only writing I was doing.

This website, then called "Bryan's Short Story Corner," got me into a regular writing habit. One that I still maintain today. I hoped it would help me get eyeballs on my words and, looking back at some of those early short stories, I shouldn't have wanted any of those eyeballs looking. Today, my Patreon fills that void. There is a dedicated group of supporters there that help subsidize my ability to write short stories on the regular.

After I started publishing books, this blog morphed into a place to talk about my projects and writing and it worked well enough for that for a long time. But now I have Twitter and Medium for those functions and they have much cleaner and easier inte…
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Anatomy of a Scene: All the President's Men

All the President's Men is one of those perfect movies. Based on a stunning true story with a brilliant screenplay from William Goldman (we've already gone through one of his scenes here with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), it's a movie that brings all of the elements of character, plot, and drama together in a way that makes me really love and admire it. 
The scene I want to go through is one that comes during a particularly trying time in the film.
For those unaware, this film tells the tale of Woodward and Bernstein, the Washington Post reporters who cracked the Watergate story. And now, looking back on it, it all feels like one big victory, but it was marked by a number of defeats. 
This is them reporting to their skeptical editor, Ben Bradlee (played brilliantly by Jason Robards) about where their investigation is at.


Immediately preceding Woodward and Bernstein walking in, a salesman is trying to sell Bradlee on features his papers doesn't need and the sales…

LTUE

I've been MIA for a while and for that I apologize.

First, The Last Jedi sort of took over in December. And then I had surgery in January and spent a couple of weeks doing a whole lot of nothing but recovering. I'm back now. I'm getting things done and I hope to be back in this space regularly.

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know about my schedule for LTUE, the writing symposium held annually down in Provo, Utah. I'll be on a panel today, as well as doing a book signing, and doing two panels tomorrow.

Here is my schedule:

Friday:

4:00 pm - Podcasting: How Not to Screw it Up 
Provo Marriott - Elm
I'll be joined with a couple of other podcasters to discuss the ins and outs of podcasting.

7:00 pm - Book Signing 
Provo Marriott - Cascade C
I'll be signing and selling books for two hours.

Saturday:

10:00 am - How to Run a Killer Game Kickstarter
Provo Marriott - Amphitheatre
I'll be talking about my experience with Kickstarter in publishing and how to apply…

Learning From Your Previous Work

It's hard for me to go back and look at my old work.

Like, really hard.

Sometimes, I try to block it out of my mind. It's not bad work, but I know I can do so much better now. I look back and think, "I'd change this. The prose could be better there. This description is a bit too much cliche. This bit of structure could have been more elegant."

Then I ask myself why I didn't see it all then. All the flaws seem so obvious. I understand that time helps you see those things. I make sure I put distance between myself and a book I've drafted and need to revise. But looking back at this old work it's somehow worse.

And I keep thinking about why it seems so much worse.

The only answer that I can come up with is because I'm learning more. I don't think the writer I am today would have made any of the mistakes that the writer I was then made so easily. And I got to thinking about Aaron Allston again. He was my mentor for a time before he passed away. W…

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…

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…