Beyond Categorization, Meaningless Drivel, Self-editing Tips, Writing tips

Trails for Rabbits and Writers. And Rabbits.

Struggling with your current work in progress? Good for you. I mean, it’s lovely and wonderful and all when the story just flows like gravy over the Spoon Ridge Mountains of your mashed potatoes, but if you ask me, struggle is a good thing. You’re somewhere in the middle of your book, aren’t you. And you’re totally frustrated. And ready to quit. Actually, yes, I am psychic. You’re also not eating enough vegetables and you need to call your mother and the world is going to end in 2012. But before you grab and drop your messterpiece in the virtual…

Read More

General, Meaningless Drivel, My Thoughts, The Publishing Process, Writing tips

Writing Advice You Should Definitely Ignore

The title of this post is not some clever reverse psychology trick. You really shouldn’t listen to this advice. It’s bad for you and it goes against everything you’ve ever heard from all those lovely and wise literary agents out there. The Chips and Nathans and Janets and the rest. (I’m not being sarcastic here. All the agents I’m thinking of are completely lovely and incredibly competent and smell like cupcakes.) So why am I writing this post? Because sometimes advice that’s perfect for The Many is perfectly wrong for The Few. I’m not saying it’s bad to be among…

Read More

About Me, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

The Truth Below the True

I’m not going to tell you my true story. Not just because it’s decidedly uneventful for the first four decades or so (apart from the usual stuff – saying clever things as a toddler, enduring the “let’s get Steve and his older brother matching sailor suits, won’t that be cute?” miscues of otherwise wonderful parents, leaving home, getting married, having kids, taking the occasional vacation, discovering unique ways to incorporate bacon into daily life), but because some of the story, particularly the season that begins just after those first four decades, features choices and consequences and events that, if published,…

Read More

My Thoughts, Writing tips

The Delirious Ecstasy of Getting Lost

The other night I took a break from an editing marathon to watch a movie. This will not surprise anyone who knows me. I love movies. Especially movies you haven’t heard of yet. Like this one. Phoebe in Wonderland. It’s the story of 9-year-old Phoebe (brilliantly played by the other Fanning, Elle) and her apparent Alice-in-Wonderland-flavored struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (which turns out to be something else but I’m not telling because I think some of you are going to rent this movie now that I’ve mentioned it and it’s always more fun to discover Important Plot Points in the…

Read More

Other Writer's Words, Self-editing Tips, Writing tips

Writing Tips from Novels: Alex and the Ironic Gentleman

Yes, there are lots of great books “on writing” (my favorite is the one that goes by that name, except capitalized; it’s by Stephen King), but I’ve found that you can get some great tips from the characters and narrators of Actual Novels. And isn’t it more fun to read a novel than a book about writing a novel? Sure it is. I have a few of these lined up in the queue (gosh, I love writing that word), but I thought it might be fun to open this irregularly recurring blog feature with an unexpected little book. It’s called…

Read More

Beyond Categorization, Self-editing Tips, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

Writer Vs. Self-Editor

Once upon a time, there was a writer… Whoa, hold on there. Wait one darn minute, mister. Excuse me? “Once upon a time”? Really? Where’s the originality in that? Surely someone who calls himself a “writer” can do better. There was a writer… Pa-thet-ICK. Look, I’m just trying to… “Was.” Passive verb, my friend. You should know this by now. Passive verbs suck. Spice it up a bit. Put some life in your words or you’re going to put your readers to sleep. I appreciate your concern, but I’m not trying to write the Great American Novel. It’s just a…

Read More

The Writer's Life, Writing tips

How Do You Write What You Don’t Know?

[Note: Stephen is currently collecting data on what it’s like to experience a great deal of pain (for use in some future work of fiction, of course), so this post is gonna be short. He’s really counting on a couple of you providing the bulk of the post in the comments section. Bring on your wisdom.] Okay, here’s the question of the day: How do you write a scene where a character experiences something you’ve never personally experienced? I mean things like shooting an innocent man. Jumping from a speeding car. Standing on stage in front of 100,000 adoring fans.…

Read More