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Feb 022016
 

I have recently had the pleasure of reading three short stories in Ash Litton’s Appalachian Dream Tales series. These are some stories you aren’t going to want to miss. The first two, Thoroughbred and Evening Hollow are available for immediate download (so what are you waiting for?) while Comeuppance is available for pre-order.

Jul 032013
 

There is a lot of advice out there for writers. Almost everyone who is a writer has advice for other writers. Me included. One thing that isn’t said often enough is that you have to be careful about what advice you follow. I don’t mean that some advice is bad in general, rather that not all of it will apply to you.

 

Dean Wesley Smith, a very prolific and varied writer, talks about Heinlein’s rules. The rules are simple enough:

1. You must write.

2. You must finish what you write.

Jun 242013
 

The Fourth Street Fantasy Convention is a bit different from other conventions that I go to. For one, there is a single programming track which means that everyone (mostly) goes to every panel. Most conventions that I attend are multi track which generally means that everything that I want to see is at the same time and the rest is just a matter of boredom control (OK, not quite that bad, but somehow programming managers always manage to pit the really good stuff against each other). Other than not having to decide which panel to go to, this allows for a certain amount of blending of the panels. That is, later panels can reference things that were discussed from earlier panels with a high level of confidence that most of the audience would know what they were talking about. This is both wonderful and a bit disconcerting at the same time.

Jan 232013
 

Characters are interesting pieces of your imagination. For many writers they are autonomous being made up of our experiences but different from us in fundamental ways. This at least is my experience, and by anecdotal evidence that of most of the writers I know. You hear it in interviews all the time – authors speak of their characters as though they are living, breathing people. Many of them talk about the characters telling the story and they are just there to write it down. It sounds crazy; in a way it sort of is.

Jan 162013
 

Back in high school, I remember arguing with my teachers about how to take notes and outline papers. I get it now that they were just trying to teach me a method of organizing my thoughts and I really shouldn’t blame them for not realizing that my brain doesn’t work in the standard outline form. I made it through high school and on into college where the professors no longer cared how I took notes just so long as my papers were organized and I could answer all my test questions. That is when I learned how to take notes in the way that my mind actually processed things, and suddenly school became a lot easier.

Jan 142013
 

In my role as and Educational ASL Interpreter, my students have learned that I make a darned good tutor when it comes to their English papers. And a frustrating one as well. What causes this particular set of feelings is the way that I tutor them. Word by word, without ever telling them what to say, I pick apart their sentences until each one is grammatically correct. Once one sentence is correct, I send them off to fix the rest of the paragraph on their own. I can totally understand their frustration. It was the same method that my favorite (and most hated) interpreting teacher used. I know that frustration well, and I know the results.

Jan 112013
 

If you ask a bunch of writers about how to find time to write there are two basic camps: Butt In Chair (BIC) and Steal Minutes (SM). If you go to any writer’s group and ask a general question like “How do you find time to write” you’ll get a nice smattering of about equal weight of the two camps. No one will deny the other camp’s position and they’ll be quite polite about it.

Dec 072012
 

There are three really tough parts to any writing project.

– The beginning

– The middle

– The end

As we have seen, there are land mines in every step of the writing process. Monday and Wednesday we covered the beginning and the middle. Today we will go over the end, but let me caution you. I’ve only covered the parts of the process where the initial writing takes place. Once the story is written, there is the editing process to contend with. But that’s a topic for another week. First we have to contend with the end.

Dec 052012
 

There are three really tough parts to any writing project.

– The beginning

– The middle

– The end

Monday we covered the beginning. So here we are today, Wednesday, the middle of the week, so let’s get on with “The Middle”. The middle is where you find all the juicy bits, the fun parts that get you from “Oh no, I just lost my job” to “Why yes, I am Lord of all I see”. Or something like that.

The Middle

Dec 032012
 

There are three really tough parts to any writing project.

– The beginning

– The middle

– The end.

Yea, yea, I know that’s pretty much the whole of it. Each part is difficult in their own way, and getting over it is required if you plan to be a professional writer. Actually, you’ll have to get over all three if you want to write for anyone other than yourself. (If you are writing for yourself and you want to skip any one of these, go right ahead.)

So let’s look at these one at a time over the next few days.