Six impossible things

Posts Tagged fundamentals


One of the things that bites even experienced writers from time to time is giving insufficient consideration to the ways their characters react to things. (Me blogging about this has nothing to do with the fact that I just turned in the copyedit for The Far West […]

Read more

The Hat Lecture

Back in the day, on Usenet, I had a little lecture that I posted periodically, whenever too many folks seemed to be bemoaning the horribleness of the submission process so much that they were losing sight of the actual job of submitting. (Make no mistake; the submission […]

Read more

Hooking the Reader

I’ve talked before about the opening of a story and some of the things that can go wrong with the all-drama, all-action, all-the-time “hook.” But it occurs to me that I haven’t talked much about what a hook is, or how to do it right. Hence today’s post. […]

Read more

It’s All Material

A couple of posts back, nct2 asked what Other Helpful Stuff a writer could do – besides writing, taking classes, or learning new skills – to improve their work. I blinked at that a couple of times, because my very first reaction was “Learn to touch-type,” and […]

Read more


One of the supposed truisms of writing is that a good plot must have conflict. And while this is, in fact, true, I’ve seen it misinterpreted so many times that I thought I’d talk about it a little. The problem always seems to come in the definition […]

Read more

Where one writes

Writing is one of the few occupations that aren’t tied to a particular place and time. It’s something that you can do anywhere, any time, if you want to. So I used to find it odd to hear so many writers talk about their desks and offices […]

Read more

Tag, You’re It

Yesterday, while bemoaning my lack of blog post topics to my walking buddy over our post-walk stop at the coffee shop (she gets coffee; I get tea), I had a revelation. (OK, not a big heavenly-choirs, life-changing sort of revelation, just a tiny hey-I-can-turn-that-into-a-blog-post revelation, but I’ll […]

Read more

One at a time or everything at once

There are two basic approaches to combining or developing ideas and story:  in-depth development, and the kitchen sink approach. These are opposite ends of a continuum, of course; there are very few writers who work strictly one way or the other. Still, it’s useful to think about […]

Read more

More than repetition

“There’s more to the theater than repetition. There’s more to the theater than repetition. There’s more to the theater than repetition… “But not much!”  – The Flying Karamozov Brothers   There are some basic things about writing that people who’ve done it for a while tend to […]

Read more

The Most Basic of Basics

“It’s not what you don’t know that kills you, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t true.” – Mark Twain One of the things that a great many people seem to know for sure is that they don’t need any knowledge of the rules of grammar, […]

Read more
Page 3 of 41234
Questions regarding foreign rights, film/tv subrights, and other business matters should be directed to Pat’s agent Ginger Clark, Curtis-Brown, Ltd., 10 Astor Place, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003,