Category

Write Without Fear

State of the WIP: The Fun is Over

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brown glass bottle on white sand during daytime

My wife was headed to Target the other day and asked me if I needed more Coke Zero. When I told her no, she asked if I was trying to cut down. I had to explain that the only reason I needed soda was to mix it with alcohol so I could Heming my Way through Draft 1 of Book Seven. Now that the first draft is finally done, so too is the drinking. Now begins the era of editing sober and ostensibly, the...

Louis Sachar and the Literary IDGAF

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For the first three years of his life, my son has enjoyed classic books like Goodnight Moon, The Pout-Pout Fish, and The Going to Bed Book. More recently, I've been trying to expose him to more mature books like The Ghost on Saturday Night, My Teacher Fried My Brains, and of course, the absolute best children's book in history, Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar. I can usually...

State of the WIP: I Don’t Do That Anymore

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Do you remember a time when there wasn't a crisis every single minute of every single day? Me neither. It seems like the universe is stacked against writers who have a full time job and a precocious, iPad obsessed toddler. And yet, we find a way to persevere, because writing is life, and to not write is to let the next great American novel wither on the vine. It may take a little longer, we may...

No, It’s The Children Who Are Wrong

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macbook pro beside black pen

Maybe I'm just arrogant and handsome, but I don't think my first draft is shitty. My first draft is awesome, and I bet yours is too, which is why I'm really starting to hate how often your first draft will be shitty is being thrown around as an accepted maxim or worse, as a piece of writing advice. I understand how we got here--if you put a first draft and a final product side-by-side, you'll...

State of the WIP

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We're here. The midpoint. 31 chapters down. 29 chapters to go. Progress has been good, but the difficulty factor of this WIP has varied wildly in the past month. There are times when the plot barrels ahead, propelled by its own momentum, and others where I actually have to put my feet up and think about where a chapter is going. Can you believe that? Thinking? At my age? That's just one of the...

State of the WIP

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Numbers don't lie. I lie. I lie a lot. But generally speaking, you can always count on numbers to tell you the truth. And when you're working on the zero draft of a new novel, those numbers can tell you how far you've come and how far you still need to go. More than that, there are statistics I just made up that say: if you pass this point, you are likely to finish this novel. As someone who...

State of the WIP

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Because there's always a WIP. People like you and I, we live for the WIP. We die for the WIP. Without the WIP, there would be no reason to get up in the morning, or eat nachos, or own a computer. At least, that has been my experience. I'm well aware there are people for whom writing is not a compulsion. They wake and sleep every day without the slightest inclination to write a story. While that...

I Write Multi-POV Stories Because the Alternative Confuses and Frightens Me

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pocket watch lot

Here's a thing: I've never written a novel from a single character's point of view. It has been twenty years, and despite my best efforts, I've never made it more than a half baker's dozen chapters into a project. It's not that I don't have ideas; obviously I have stories to fill novels. So it must be something else, some part of the writing that is just so difficult and enigmatic that at some...

If It Doesn’t Advance The Plot

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I was finishing up my last edits on Brigham Plaza when the quarantine hit, so I couldn't join my fellow writers in celebrating "all this extra free time" we had to write. But now that the book is with my editor, I've actually been using some of this "totally not anxiety- and stress-filled time" to do some exploratory writing. And you know what, faithful blog reader? It's nice. It's real nice and...

State of the WIP: The Most Exciting Line

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Last night, I powered through the last six chapters of Brigham Plaza to get a sense of how they feel as a whole. I put a lot of work into making the climax of the book satisfying while still leaving a few stingers in the denouement to help you come down. And yet, it was the final page, after the epilogue, that I found to contain the most exciting line of the entire book. At least, in my...

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