Six impossible things

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Twitchy, twitchy

Barely over a week ago, I turned in the first draft of Circuit Rider, after a major death-march push to get the thing done somewhere within shouting distance of deadline. The plan was to spend a couple of weeks taking care of everything that got put off […]

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All together at once

Writing is difficult to talk about. I mean the real thing, the stuff that happens when you are sitting there with your paper and pen or your computer or your stone tablets and chisel and telling a story. We talk about bits and pieces of writing all […]

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So the next thing that happens is…

As I said in our last exciting episode, there are two kinds of novel outlines writers do:  the sort meant to sell a manuscript to a publisher, and the sort meant to help the writer write the book. This post is about the second kind. The first […]

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Where do I begin…

How do you decide where a story starts? Stories, short or long, generally are not about characters who are happily living their normal lives. Something unusual is going on; something has upset the status quo (whether the status quo was a miserable life as a slave, or […]

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So you want to write a book…

It being the new year — and the first year of a new decade — I went poking around the web and noticed a bunch of websites for people’s New Year’s Resolutions. A little further investigation revealed that “write a book” is, in some form or another, […]

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The jigsaw puzzle analogy

I keep running across people who think that there is One Right Way to write a story, and who tie themselves in knots trying to force themselves to write “the right way” when it doesn’t suit their particular mental processes. Somewhere, somehow, they’ve gotten convinced (usually because some […]

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What do you do with your ideas once you have them?

Once you “have an idea,” the next bit of the process for most writers is developing it into a story. How one develops an idea depends largely on the writer and the idea. For a lot of us, the first stage is kind of like the effect […]

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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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The Naming of Names

One of the perennial questions I get from people, especially those who want to be writers, is “how do you come up with the names?”-meaning, usually, the “weird fantasy names” in settings that bear no resemblance to the “real world,” rather than the more ordinary names like […]

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How To Be A Writer

Write. No, really, that’s it. It’s kind of a definitional thing. What you have to be in order to be a writer is, you have to be someone who writes.  Period.  You don’t have to be nice; you don’t have to be educated; you don’t have to […]

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