01 Mar

How do you write?

Banner - Fountain PenHow do you write? Not now and then. Not because someone forces you to. How do you write, as often, and as productively, as you would like?

Fun, plain and simple.

Removing the “must” part from “I must write,” turning it into a simple “I write.”

For me, fun is what made that happen. No pressure, no self-recrimination, no “the world should be this way, and I should be that way with it.” Just plain fun. Read More

19 Feb

Friday Links * 2: Creating Place Names

Banner: Movie clickYearghttoon. Wintrufeil. Yeah, we should all make better place names when we’re world building. This will give you the how and why of place name etymology. Also, it’s aimed at young roleplayers. Meaning lots of rapid transitions and some cursing. But the underlying content is quite interesting. Just remember to pause to write down the lists on a separate piece of paper. Read More

08 Feb

How Math Destroys Your Progress

Banner - DiceThere is an element of chance in everything we do. Call it chance, fortune, Lady Luck. Call it whatever you want. But it means that if you did great today, you’re doing worse tomorrow. Here’s why.

Imagine that you have an amazing writing day. Let’s say that you managed to type in 4000 beautiful words in a single afternoon, producing four times as much as you normally do.  Everything is great. You’re totally on a roll. Read More

01 Feb

Your Best Work and Your Worst Work

Banner - TypewriterFor years I’ve been hearing other authors say that there is no great difference between their worst work, and their best work. I’ve always thought this was a load of crud.

Of course there is a difference between my best work and my worst work. When I do my best writing everything flows. It is pure, pristine, shoals of wonderful ideas that weave together into a complete whole. It is living in flow with the Muse looking over my shoulder. The words flow out of me in a never-ending stream.

Except that all of that really is a load of crud.

Last year, after reading Chris Fox’s “5000 Words An Hour,” I started keeping track of my work. When I start to write. Whether I’m writing or editing. How many words I achieve. And it’s really opened up my eyes. 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

14 Dec

You’ve got to have hope

You’ve got to have hope.

Not blind faith. This business is way too influenced by luck for that. Not a realistic assessment of your chances. Your chances are way too uncertain for that. Hope.

Hope is the feeling that you could achieve something with a bit of luck, with a bit of skill, with a bit of perseverance. Hope is the feeling that what you do matters, that you can influence the world around you in a positive way. Hope is what makes life in uncertain times possible. It doesn’t really matter what your business is, how uncertain it is, or what you’re writing, or creating, or hoping for.

You need hope simply to survive. 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