Six impossible things


The skeleton in the closet

There are a couple of ways of looking at plot, ranging from the bird’s-eye view at a macro level to the order of scenes, and events and incidents within scenes. The one most people run across first — and one of the most useful ways of looking […]

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Working at what isn’t free

In the comments on the last post, S.A. Cox said “Historically, however, with both writing and teaching, one of the main keys to my development has been trusting my instincts about what is working and what isn’t, and then working like a dog at what isn’t.” My […]

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What you get for free

Every writer has something – some part of writing, however tiny – that comes easily (or at least, more easily than the rest of it). For some it’s action scenes; for others, it’s deep characterization; for others it’s plot or dialog or structure or theme. But there’s […]

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Quote unquote

Just for fun, I thought I’d put up some of my favorite quotations about writing, writers, and publishing. Feel free to chime in with yours! “There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” — W. Somerset Maugham “There are nine and […]

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Thanks, bro…

So last weekend, my brother and his family came to visit. We had a lovely time, despite the fact that they all had colds. You see where this is going already, don’t you? But to really understand this, you have to know that when I get a […]

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You ought to be a writer

Every once in a while, I run across people who are baffled and frustrated by the behavior of certain talented friends of theirs. “They can write great stuff; why don’t they?” “Their fanfic is great; why don’t they try to submit stuff professionally?” “They’ve sold a bunch of books; […]

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From the road

Part of the way down Wisconsin (if you’re coming from Minnesota via I94), there’s a spot where they were doing road work about six months ago. They finished up the first part, but apparently they want to do more on the same stretch at some unspecified future […]

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The Good Guys

To my mind, a purely altruistic, goody-two-shoes hero is even more boring and unrealistic than a purely evil villain. Maybe because at least the villain is getting something out of being a villain? All those armies to order around, and castles, and power, and so on. OK, people […]

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Cats. Why did it have to be cats?

Cazaril, my Maine Coon/Tabby rescue cat, has been seriously annoyed with me lately. I think it’s all the travel — he really doesn’t like being left home with just Nimue for company. So he’s been trying to get me up several times a night. To play with […]

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Getting stuck, part II

I probably should have posted this first, if I was going to blog about getting stuck. Because one of the more important things a writer needs to do when they’re stuck, before trying to apply any of the techniques I was talking about, is to figure out […]

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