Man jumping to kick a punching bag

Engaging My Saboteur – Part 1 of a…

I'm a huge fan of the Odyssey Writing Workshops podcast. It's a free writing podcast, toping out at around 20 minutes that's packed full of actionable writing advice. I was poking around on their site…

To Flashback or Not Flashback

Flashbacks inevitably come up in writing discussions. It's another topic that brings out religious debate in writers - many hate them and advise against them. I don't think any tool is necessarily evil, but like…

Story Discovery

In IT project management there's a phase of a project called discovery. In this phase we flesh out how we're going to tackle the problem at hand, trying to scope out possible options. Writing is…

Hourglass with sand ruinning through it

The Years Will Pass

I got into a conversation with a person in a comic book group I'm in the other day. The poster said he didn't have time to pursue his own art, so he wanted to hire…

Which Character Are You?

Pretty much any time you write something, the question which character are you is bound to come up. I think it comes up most often when you talk about your writing to people who don't…

Man standing in fog, ominously lit with red light

People Watch For The Monster

People watch for the monster. The other night I was reading a friend's short horror comic script and it got me thinking about those words. I've tweeted this advice for a while - I think…

The Ten Year Journey

I'm always amazed that no matter where I go, I meet people who want to write and enjoy success without putting the work in. I really don't know why this mindset seems to be so…

Where to Start

I'm a member of the Facebook group Science Fiction Writing Fanatics. It's a fun group with a decent amount of activity - not so much it's overwhelming but enough to keep me thinking. If you're…

Finding the Right Team

It's the new year, ending my holiday hiatus as I get back into writing new posts. I'm going to revisit something I touched on a while back in Finding People. You Can't Do It Alone…

The What-If Game

Write long enough and eventually you'll hit a story block. By this I mean you're going along, the story has been working, and suddenly - BAM! You hit a brick wall and feel like you're…

Silhouettes of a film crew at dawn.

Building Your Team

Something I see come up often in several groups I follow is how you find people to help you - especially when you're just starting out and you can't pay much, if anything. This point…

The Rules

When you write in genre - especially Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal, it's exciting because we get to create limitless worlds. The only limits are those in your own imagination, and you're free to explore pretty much anything you…

Man standing on top of mountain. Photo courtesy StockVault, Jack Moreh

Just A Little Longer

This morning I listened to an I Should Be Writing podcast this morning (I'll admit I've been off the podcast wagon for a bit). I've been in a bit of a creative rut, and Mur…

Mason laying bricks on a walkway

Have Pride in Your Work

A while back I used to teach college level English classes. Several were introductory level courses - how to write a college research paper. Every class had a few people who would ask "does spelling…

Group of LIKE signs

Is This Worth Writing?

In several writing groups I follow I see writers of all levels pinging the group asking whether a given concept would be worth writing. I think the basic advice is obvious - sit your ass…

Swiss Army Knife with blades extended

Avoiding the Slog

It was a post by a fellow filmmaker in a group I watch with a cautionary tale: his film took a long time to shoot. When he finally finished, his editor partially finished the project…

Delivering on Story Promises

When you write something creative - anything creative - you have a contract with your audience. In the crucial first pages you're setting the stage for everything to come. You need to deliver on the…

The Value of the Crazy-Ass Plans

I saw a post over on Quora that resonated with me. This person was talking about a girl they had a crush on and how they could get over this. I posted my advice to…

The Power of Music

Back when I was in college, we'd occasionally have a professor come in and play classical music while we were studying. They would tell us this helped us concentrate. These little interludes never lasted long,…

Throwing the Patterns Away

I've mentioned story patterns before - back in On Patterns and Story we dove deep into the topic. Today I'd like to take another look at the subject and talk about when and why you…

The Value of Community

I'm heading for a writing conference this weekend, and I'm really excited about it. If you've never been to a conference or a writing group, let's explore the topic in this post. I'm Not Ready…

Silhouette of a person's head with gears turning inside

That Which Is Not Explained

Watch enough movies and read enough books, and you're bound to run into some ambiguous themes - where something is important to the story, quickly touched upon, and then that's it. Audiences will go along…