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Showing posts from July, 2012

Writer's Rules Revisited #2

Last week, I opened up a new series on the rules of writing based on my original " 50 Rules and Tips for Writers. " It was very popular and people really seemed to like it, so I'll certainly be keeping it up. You can read Part 1 here , Part 3 here , and Part 4 here. The three rules we'll be talking about are primarily for screenwriters. As much prose writing as I've done, I've probably done as much screenwriting. (The next episode of Confessions of an Independent Filmmaker will be highlighting a lot of the misadventures I had in the Hollywood agent and screenwriting system.) Over the years I've talked to a lot of readers, mentors, and screenwriters that seem to back up these philosophies. There are a few important things to point out when screenwriting, though. The first is that everyone has a different style of writing a screenplay, but the format is largely the same. If you want to compare and contrast, read Alex Proyas' early draft for Dark Ci


Over the weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of being a guest at the very first Salt City Steam Fest in Salt Lake City. It was a steampunk gathering where costumers and genre fans got together to learn about a lot of different things, show off their costumes, and have fun.  I was able to do a writing panel with Howard Tayler from Schlock Mercenary . Howard and I have been circling each other professionally in time and space for many years, but this was the first time we'd actually, officially met. He's a very excellent person, a scholar, a gentleman, and a very knowledgeable writer. His podcast, Writing Excuses , which he appears on with Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal, is something worth checking out if you're interested in writing. I feel like I learned as much as I taught and met a lot of people who were new to my material and  eager to check it out. For those who missed me, I have another signing this weekend. The Mediocre Show cont

Interview: Star Wars Book Report

I had the honor of being a guest on the Star Wars Book Report podcast to talk about writing, Star Wars, and Operation: Montauk. The first guest on the show is Tom Kane, the voice of Yoda on The Clone Wars. I've interviewed Tom a few times myself and he's always a fascinating guy to listen to. Then they get into my interview. You can check out their website here. During the interview, we talked a lot about the difference in writing for different mediums: documentary, feature films, journalism, novels, and so on. We also talked at length about my upcoming children's book about the history of presidential assassination, currently being illustrated by Erin Kubinek . Afterwards, they reviewed the book. A couple of quotes from the review: "It grips you from the beginning. It's wall-to-wall action." "It's very pulpy. It's like a Flash Gordon serial." "He hit the bullseye with this. This is the novel he wanted to deliver and i

Writer's Rules Revisited #1

A while back I put down a list of 50+ rules for writing that I have been collecting over the years. You can read that post here . I've collected even more than this since then, but someone asked me why I hadn't expanded them into something larger. Rules and one sentence missives are good, but essays on the subject might be more helpful. I want to go through these one or two at a time at greater length until we've gone through all of them and we've added more to the list. Maybe when we're done I'll compile them all into ebook form or something. The list actually starts out with Kurt Vonnegut's rules of short story writing. He put them down in Palm Sunday and it inspired me quite a bit. Palm Sunday was also, on some level, the basis for my own book that was a collection of essays and stories inspired by or about Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut. Since his "rules" of writing are the first on my list and have been debated and dissected co

Disconnecting as a writer...

Writing is time consuming. It takes incredible amounts of focus, creativity, drive, and time. In a world that demands we're connected digitally to it at every second, it can be hard to find that oasis of time and space that John Cleese talked so brilliantly about . This connection is a problem I have personally as a writer and often it leads to a lack of productivity and often some manner of insomnia. Clearly, I'm still productive, though, and I've had to come up with ways to fight digital distractions. Firstly, I often write in my notebook. Lately, I've been quite attracted to the small Moleskine notebooks ( particularly the Star Wars ones ) and I fill one up every month or two (sometimes three, depending on the projects I'm working on.) It helps to leave my phone in my pocket and not have it anywhere in sight and to be working in the notebook somewhere free of distractions. As for my phone, mine is virtually always on silent. I don't get any beeps or w

UPDATE: San Diego Comic-Con

Good news, everyone! I will, in fact, be manning a table at San Diego Comic-Con. Maxwell Alexander Drake has two tables and a booth at the show this year and we have worked out a deal for me to take up some of one of those tables in the Artist Alley, where I will be  hawking my literary wares. While there are no promises that I'll be able to make it there for Preview Night, I will try my hardest. I will also be at the convention Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday. Aside from the panel of mine that I'm on, a few panels I'll be attending as press, and some obligatory wandering the exhibition hall floor, I'll be setting up and selling books. I will also be giving away copies of my Free Comic Book Day special, which contains the short story "An Original" from Man Against the Future and the first chapter of Operation: Montauk. In the meantime, I'm going to tell you to check out Drake's website and books and pick one up. He's good people

San Diego Comic-Con and a writing update

I've been attending Comic-Con for a long time now. This will be my 14th of the last 16 that I've been to. I've covered the last five or so as press and have had a great time interviewing some very cool people. From Kevin Smith to Kevin Conroy and the cast of The Clone Wars and comics superstars across the board. It gets more and more stressful every year and I was honestly planning on skipping this year and taking a well deserved break to do some writing. But I was invited to participate on a panel and I couldn't pass up that opportunity. And I've already booked some cool interviews that I'll be doing as well. It certainly won't be a waste of time. For those interested in the panel I'm on, it's called "How to Get News Coverage" and here's the official rundown of it: If you’ve wondered what it takes to get your project covered by Scoop or any of the other industry news sites, and you’re going to be attending Comic-Con Internati