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Showing posts from August, 2015

My Writing Process

Earlier this week, Chuck Wendig, author of the upcoming Star Wars: Aftermath, wrote a post about his writing proces s and challenged other writers to share theirs, so I thought that would make a perfect post for this week. I'm the sort of writer who works really well with a consistent routine and something to always work on. My routine has been something I've slowly been coming to over the years and I really like where I'm at because it's allowed me to create a tremendous and, I think, quality output. Though I used to be the exact opposite, I'm an early riser and do my best to get to my local coffee shop or my office by 6:00 am. At that time in the morning, there is no one trying to send me emails, no one calling or texting, the kids aren't awake, and I'm left with nothing but my thoughts. Lately, I walk to the coffee shop as often as possible. It gives me time to collect my thoughts. Then, I sit down with my writing notebook and journal for a little w

The Importance of Staying Focused.

When you're writing, it's easy for me to get distracted. I'm not just talking about the Internet and family and work and everything else that can come up while you're at your notebook and keyboard, although that's also a danger for distraction. I'm talking about with other stories. I'm currently 30k words into my new novel. It's a fantasy epic and I'm probably not even a third of the way through the book. I know there's a lot of hard work coming to get it finished and there's a lot of words I'm going to need to write. I'm still passionate about it and I love it. The setting is fascinating, I'm really happy with the characters, and as far as story and action it might be the most exciting thing I've ever written. But I'm a writer. I have lots of ideas. Ideas tumble out of my head a dozen a day, at least. And some of them are, I think, really good. Some of them are so good I get really excited about them. And now, as

Avoiding Cliches

When I'm working on my first drafts, sometimes it's easier for me to choose a cliched description and keep going. It's natural. These are the things that come to mind first and when you're writing a couple of thousand words in a sitting, they're not going to all be gold. It's a note I get back from all of my earliest readers, "Take out the red pen and get rid of the cliches." In fact, that might have been my favorite note from one of my favorite authors after he'd read one of my books. Warren Murphy, the creator of "The Destroyer," wrote me a this: "You sometimes have a tendency to slip into cliche and, once in a while, at the worst possible moment. I know it comes from working fast because I've fought that tendency too, but it becomes particularly awful. While it might, just maybe might, be okay in dialogue, coming in the author's voice it means "I couldn't think of anything good so I'll write this crap i


When one thinks of the word "compromise" in terms of art, it's usually as a negative. "My vision was compromised," you might hear an artist say. Hell, I've said it a time or two when something important was removed from a piece I'd worked on without my knowledge. And in that sense of the word it's a bad thing. In talking to some people, though, it's clear to me that there seems to be an idea floating out there that editors and beta readers exist to force compromise on your vision, and I'm not sure that's the case. In fact, I'm pretty confident it's not. When you finish your draft of a story, it's just that: a draft. It's not living up to its potential because it's just been vomited from your mind. Whether you're a swooper or a basher, your work is still going to need some editing. It's going to need more massaging and finesse. The problem is that you're too close to it. You might be able to revise it