Whose Story Is It?

Every story is someone’s story. Whether we are writing about war, child abuse, romance, murder, or any other topic, we must make readers care about a character. Readers want someone to root for, to bond with, to love. Once they have found that, they will be eager to read further. One of the hardest things [...]

What is POV and How Do I Get One

Point of view is one of a writer’s most vital tools. It allows the writer to choose narrator, viewpoint character, and the emotional distance of the narration.

Wednesday’s Words: Infinitely Recyclable

Spring is greening the desert. Creosote bushes are growing, weeds are sprouting up, native grasses are taking hold, cactuses are coming alive. I marvel that so much comes from almost nothing. A bit of water, a bit of sandy soil, a bit of sun, and something exists where nothing did before. I cherish that green. [...]

Wednesday’s Words: Adimpleate to Veteratiorian

Bob’s pomarious experience, his frutescent hair, and his squiriferous demeanor made him a popular oporopolist. The only problem was that he tended to be a philargyrist, and there wasn’t a lot of money to be made in his chosen profession. Even worse, the sevidical tongue of his boss gave him ulcers. Luckily, his prandicles were [...]

Wednesday’s Words: Food (In Writing)

Sex and violence are visceral activites, but so is eating. Food is at once primitive and sophisticated, animalistic and human. We need to eat, but to a great extent we get to choose what we eat. And we get to choose for our characters. In fact, the characters of our characters lie in that choice. [...]

Notes on the Borders Affair

We’ve been hearing for some time now that Borders was on shaky ground and recent word that they’d stopped paying publishers confirmed that more bad news was sure to come.  Today Borders announced that they will go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.   What is that likely to mean?   The most immediate impact will be the closing [...]

Wednesday’s Words: Dialogue Envy

Books on how to write dialogue often suggest we listen to people talk. Sounds like good advice, but have you ever truly listened? “We . . . um . . .  we, like . . . you know . . . we stammer and like we repeat ourselves and um . . . you know.” [...]

Do You Really Need To Write A Million Words of Cr@p Before You Write Anything Worth Publishing?

Raymond Chandler used to claim that a writer had to get a million words of crap out of their system before they got to the good stuff. That’s probably not always true, but he has a point. Writing is a profession, and a demanding one. Very few people can sit down and pilot a plane [...]

Wednesday’s Words: Yipping at My Heels

I just finished taking a look at two thrillers, both big, slick, well-touted works. Although they had interesting plots, there were so many point-of-view characters and so many incidents that the stories never seemed to go anywhere. I finally got tired of the words yip-yip-yipping at me and closed the books. Ahh. Silence. Three-hundred-page manuscripts [...]

Crooks, Thieves, and Basic Low-Lifes

This one isn’t about writing or the good I see every day in so many people. This one’s about people without integrity, about people who can’t be trusted to do what’s right without someone having to stand watch over them.