04 Jan

How I write this blog

Banner - PenI thought this might be a fun thing to do, to let you see exactly the process I use to write my blog.

Right now I’m walking outside, it’s about 10 degrees Celsius. There are nice weather, a little bit wet since it’s in the fall.

And I’m dictating this into my Voyager into my Plantronics Voyager 3200 headset.

Did you notice what just happened there? I said Voyager twice, because I missed a word. I’m not going to correct this in editing. All I’m going to do is clean up the punctuation and any spelling errors.

Everything else remains. So your

Everything else remains. So what you see here is the exact transcript of the exact words that I use. Read More

28 Dec

Pulling Down the Pedestal – On Dealing with insecurity in writing

Banner - Fountain PenI’m working on a project right now. It’s a spaghetti western in space with magic, and I’ve come to a point where I have no idea where the project should be going.

On one hand, it could end.

There is enough for a cataclysmic showdown with everybody getting gunned down by the hero. That will make it rather short and I like the characters and setting. I’m not quite ready to leave them just yet. There is room for tidying up unfinished business.

But I have no idea how I’m going to do that. I’m pantsing it, writing in to the dark. I don’t know the world, I don’t know the hero, the opposition, the side characters. I’m inventing everything as I write. Read More

25 Dec

Friday Links * 2: Hugh Howey’s Massive Writing Advice

Banner Mouse ClickA massive ebook in blog post format, taking into account everything from the first insight that you want to write, up to publishing and contracts.

I don’t use the same method of writing as Hugh does, but his posts are still crammed with nuggets of wisdom that I found worthwhile. And if you’re more in line with his process, you’re bound to find illumination within.

I’d pay for this if it was published as a book. Now you get it for free. Read More

07 Dec

Lost Love + Sunk Cost Fallacy = Trouble

I lost 30,000 words today. Almost.

I didn’t actually lose them. It was more like I beat them to death with a blunt hammer and then had to cut them away from my conscience.

It started out with a pretty great idea. Kids in an abandoned space junkyard trying to get to the stars. And it played along pretty nicely. I liked the setting. I liked the characters.

And then, around the 20,000 word mark, I realized the characters are whiny brats who won’t start acting and just keep on reacting as little as they can. The story called for outcasts with skills. And here we had high school juves with issues.

Now, outcasts works for high school juves, but issues don’t. Outcasts with issues that just boring. It’s Batman sitting on a roof edge contemplating his miserable life while Crime Happens. Elsewhere.

That doesn’t work in an adventure story. Read More

20 Feb

Plotting with Pain – Who’d be the Most Hurt?

How to Plot using Pain

How to Plot using PainLet’s say you have an idea for a setting, or an event, or a new type of technology, but you can’t transform it into a plot. There’s simply no action there, no conflict. All you’ve got is a “what if…”

How about you take one of those what ifs and ask “who would be the most hurt by this?” I.e.:

“What if all people could suddenly fly? Who would be the most hurt by this?”

Airlines. Airline pilots. Airline maintenance workers. What if it’s a airplane mechanic who really loves his planes, but now they’re all worthless and nobody wants them? “The Airplane Whisperer, coming soon to a theater near you…”

Second point would be to see how badly you can make the person hurt. Read More