Six impossible things


The Down Side of Quotas

One of the ways writers attempt to make themselves produce more words fast is to give themselves quotas and/or deadlines. “I will write 1,000 words/four pages/for three hours every day/week/month.” Most of the time, this doesn’t work terribly well for me, for several reasons. The most obvious […]

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Plots and Causal Chains

The idea that a plot is a series of events related by cause and effect goes back at least to E.M. Forster, who said, in Aspects of the Novel, that “The king died and then the queen died” was not a plot, merely a set of sequential […]

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Getting ready

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming up, and people are preparing to slam out 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30. The people at Creative Live have decided to offer a discount on a bunch of their how-to-write classes as part of “NaNoWriMo prep month.” […]

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From the Mailbag – Building an Imaginary Society

Every so often, I get a question that makes me blink. The most recent one was something along the lines of “How would a matriarchal society work, especially in terms of politics, child rearing, property, gender roles, religion, etc.?” I always want to start my answers with […]

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On Head-Hopping

Head-hopping is a mildly pejorative term for a writing technique that is usually summed up as “switching viewpoints within a scene,” followed by the strong recommendation that one should never, ever do it. The reasons given for never, ever head-hopping range from the blanket assertion that it […]

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I’m finally getting caught up after two trips and a week of house guests. One of the things that took me longest was unpacking. I dislike unpacking partly because it reminds me of how much stuff I lugged along that I didn’t need … and how many […]

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Technology and Process

Technology changes the way we work. Everybody knows this, but there is nothing quite like having your Internet go out to bring it home to you. Last week’s infrastructure failure made me think about how my writing process has changed over time. I started my first book […]

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Technical difficulties

Apologies for the delay, but internet failure means that there will be no post this week. Regularly scheduled service will resume as speedily as possible.

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Describing your POV character

Carrying on a bit further from last week: Describing your point-of-view character can be tricky. If you’re in omniscient viewpoint, you may not need to; even when the omniscient narrator has an unusual voice and decided opinions, he/she isn’t a character in the story whose physical description […]

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Tips on Character Description

Got back to the daily frenzy yesterday. Going from vacation straight to house guests is enough to give you whiplash, even (or especially?) when the house guests are family… But part of the daily frenzy is the weekly blog post, so here I am. A couple of […]

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