• snoopy writing typewriter

    All My Writing Tips

    These are all the tips and advice about writing that I’ve collected over the years. They first started when I was outlining Stephen King’s On Writing and ballooned from there. They generally start simple, then expand to complex and detailed. Some of them are long. Some of them repeat. Some of them conflict. Some of them might be controversial. Mileage may vary.

  • man sitting with coffee writer

    What Writing Tips Have Not Worked For You?

    I keep a list of writing tips for myself that I look at every once in a while. It started as an outline of Stephen King’s On Writing, but expanded from there as I learned more and more about the craft. Write what you know Well, if we only wrote what we know, there’d be very few stories. And very boring stories. There’d be no science fiction or fantasy. No dwarves, no superheroes, no space aliens, no slasher killers. How dull. Not to mention if you only write what you know, you’re not writing for an audience. And that’s another piece of advice that’s terrible — “write for yourself”, “write…

  • peanuts lucy psychiatrist booth writing advice

    What We Mean When We Say You Can’t Break the Rules Until You Can Follow the Rules

    One of the pieces of advice I often hear about writing is that you need to learn to follow the rules before you can break them. All writers do it. Choppy sentences, passive voice, fragmented sentences, consistent point of view, infodumping, starting with a character waking up, use of adverbs. Bestsellers and classics like Jane Austen, James Joyce, John Green, Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer, John Scalzi, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King. There’s no work where at least one of the basics isn’t twisted. Now one could say that it’s because, in any art form, there are no rules, only guidelines. Suggestions. Good advice. They’re smart plays, but not written in stone.…

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    Guest Post with Daniel Ausema

    For those who like cross-promotion, I did a guest post on Daniel Ausema’s blog about the lessons I learned from Black Hole Son and how I applied them to Merm-8.  Guess which one actually got published.

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: September – October 2013

    Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines Jim C. Hines is good at set dressing, but less so with character + plot combos. I wish I could come up with overall ideas like him, but that’s about all I wish for.  The story, like his other stories, are very linear and take all place in the immediate present with little thought to backstory or contemplation. I feel like his characters don’t drive the plot, events do. And the result is I don’t have much sense of character. No sense that this matters to the character personally, only immediately. So there’s no literary devices, no foreshadowing, no flashbacks, no Easter eggs, no moments…

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    The Books I Read: March – April 2013

    Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show edited by Glenn Yeffeth Like “The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games Trilogy” edited by Leah Wilson et al., a lot of the essays in this book start getting samey. The power of friendship, sexiness of vampires, who should Buffy be with, wiccan good, love the earth, woman power. It starts feeling like refined versions of online editorials, only by professional authors. And that’s saying something because, unlike most things, I did not lurk on Buffy web sites. I didn’t read the analyses or identify with a main character…

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    The Books I Read: November – December 2012

    Room by Emma Donoghue Oh my god. This might be the best book I ever read. Certainly the best book I read this quarter, and maybe the best all year. From the moment I saw its description, I was too intrigued. Room takes place in just that: a room. The entire novel revolves around a woman locked in this 12×12 space that she never leaves.  Just that alone had me hooked — what happened?  Was there an apocalypse?  Is this a survival story?  How do you write an entire book that takes place in one room? Much less a book that keeps getting onto “best of the year” lists. How…

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    My Philosophy on Writing Women Part 3 — The Conclusions

    I don’t think anyone knew this, but I was extremely nervous releasing “My Philosophy on Writing Women, Part 2 — The Debate”. For many weeks, I scrutinized each line, tried to be fair, but drew on my own experiences, exercised my critical thinking. Several times I almost erased the whole damn thing, thinking it would be easier on myself to avoid the potential controversy and heartache. I foresaw the same sites and people that targeted me before saying “Oh, here goes this douchebag again, making blanket statements. Let’s rage-sult him mercilessly and make him feel bad for shit he didn’t even write.” But I continued because that would be cowardice,…

  • Daily Farland’s David Kick

    I subscribe to David Farland’s Daily Kick, which is not so daily or kicky. It’s basically a mailing list for writing tips blog. I can’t remember how I first heard of this — I’ve never read any of his books — but sometimes it has good articles, like how to sell to new markets and things people miss when writing female characters. But lately, there are two trends that have really been bothering me. Things that are making me think about unsubscribing. One is probably due to what’s on his mind — eBooks. He’s written a lot about the failings of the paper industry and the advent of the eBook…

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    Don’t Listen to Me

    All right, it’s time to put out some more important writing advice. Over the years, I’ve made a series of tips (which I then promptly forgot about), critiqued various works of literature, cinema, & video games, created software to make better writing easier, and I frequently beta read at FanFiction.net and Critters. I’ve been published a few times, and I’m working on my second meant-to-be-published novel, which means I’ve got some experience. And I’ve figured out the best thing I can tell you people. Don’t listen to me. Seriously, if you’re looking for tips about the industry, about anything really, don’t listen to me. I’m not a published author, in…