Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2016

Word Games For Inspiration

I like to read a lot of books about the craft of writing. Probably a full ten percent of the books I read are about the craft of writing. The vast majority of books have some bit of wisdom or inspiration I'm able to take away from them and incorporate into my own writing. I'd been reading Dean Koontz books since I was ten and was looking for more craft books to read and found that he'd written this one. It's long out of print. It was published originally in 1972, and by then Koontz had already written in excess of 40 novels. In many ways, it's useful because he is such a thorough expert in the craft that he's able to break down all of the genres and their component parts and what audiences expect from them. But I was going to be a little disappointed if this was all the book was, and I was happy to learn that it wasn't. For one, it was also a time capsule of how writing worked back in the day. Think about pursuing a career in novel writing and not havin

NaNoWriMo: 10 Tips to Stay on Top

We're just over three weeks into National Novel Writing month and I'm just now crossing the 75,000-word threshold. I was looking around, thinking about how I got to this point two years in a row at about the same time and I thought I'd bring some of that advice to you. So, without further ado, here are 10 tips to staying on top of your NaNo... Know Where You're Going - Have, at the very least, a general road map of where your story is heading. I don't always have the most detailed outline to work from, but I do have a sense of where the book is heading and in what general direction I'd need to take to get to the end. And every time I feel like I might get stuck, I spend some time working in my notebook, asking myself questions about where the next day's writing could go. I also think about things I could include that would make that next day's writing exciting. Don't revise - This is one of those bits of writing advice that I think is pretty

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Art and Politics

Art is inherently political. Let's just get that out of the way. We all have things we want to say (or things we want to not say) in our personal lives that shape the art we make. And artists, more often than not, are trying to say something with their art, even if their goal is to not say something. There is no doubt that this has been a turbulent week in the country I live in. There are many of us that are confused and shocked and afraid of what might be to come in the future. That's understandable. As artists and writers, I feel like we're typically more empathetic than the general population. It's easy to think about what it's like to be in someone else's shoes because we spend so much of our creative time almost literally in someone else's shoes. And we need to pass that understanding on to our readers or viewers or however else they're consuming this art. I've seen this troubling idea, though, that art needs to be purely for escape and

NaNo: Week One

It's been a week of furious writing, but I've got almost 25,000 words of a novel to show for it. And most of a short story. There's something great about National Novel Writing Month that always kicks my ass into gear and makes me want to get so much more done. Part of it is the community. I love being able to interact with other writers who are going through the same thing I am. More often than not, writing is a bizarre and lonely process. I don't get to talk in specifics about what the issues of a day might be. Being around non-writers most of the time means that, at best, I'll talk in vague generalities. Maybe I won't even mention the problems I've got in my work. But during NaNo, that all changes. There's a support system of people that seem to exist, like fairies in the woods at night, only during November. They have chatrooms and write-ins. I don't feel like such a shut in all the time. I find that it's also good for me to be keep

National Novel Writing Month

It's November and you know what that means. Yes, turkey (or tofurkey), obviously, but it's also National Novel Writing Month. Each year, through the month of November, writers around the world work to complete 50,000 words of their novels in a long sprint that can reach the heights of both agony and ecstasy. There is a lot of debate back and forth every year, bickering between working writers and newcomers, about what good NaNoWriMo does. It's true that you will very rarely have a finished novel with the completion of 50,000 words. It's very true that it takes a lot of practice to be able to produce 50,000 words that are usable, let alone publishable. And it takes even more practice to be able to produce 50,000 usable words in the space of thirty days. It makes a lot of sense to me why some working writers who have spent many years honing their craft and learning how to produce at such a rate might have a chip on their shoulder about NaNoWriMo. There's an id