“Outlines are the last resource of bad fiction writers who wish to God they were writing masters’ theses.” ~ Stephen King That’s what King says, anyway. He should know, right? The man has written a few million words of fiction. Mostly, it seems, without outlining. This story may be apocryphal, but I remember reading, or […]Read more "Plotters Vs. Pantsers Vs. Stephen King"
“Where do you get your ideas?” That’s just asking for a smartass answer, isn’t it? An Al Jaffee’s Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions response. Harlan Ellison had flippant answers to this question. An idea service in Schenectady that sent him x number of ideas for each x dollars he sent in. Neil Gaiman belongs to […]Read more "Too Many Ideas? (some of you can relate to this)"
This post is another in a series based upon Elmore Leonard’s advice to refrain from writing the parts that readers tend to skip. In previous posts, I talked about excessive and/or unnecessary description, pointless transitions and bathroom breaks, and dialogue. Initially, I couldn’t believe that some readers skipped dialogue, but it seems to be true. […]Read more "The Parts Readers Skip: Unnecessary Scenes & Info Dumps"
The late Elmore Leonard advised writers to avoid writing the parts that readers tend to skip. This is the third part in my series of posts about this subject. In case you missed my other posts, they focused on “Too Much Description” and “Transitions.” While conducting background for a third post, I discovered that some […]Read more "The Parts Readers Skip: Dialogue"
This post began as a 250-word digression in the middle of one of my reviews of a classic Trek episode. I’ve come to understand how my brain works over the years. It is easily distracted by things it associates with other things. Sometimes I can ignore this free association—this tangential thinking—if I am sufficiently caffeinated […]Read more "Space Is Big (a brief digression about warp drives and similar fictional constructs)"
The late Elmore Leonard suggested writers should leave out the parts that readers tend to skip. Great advice. But, the question remains, “What do readers tend to skip?” As with most things, this varies by reader. In my previous post on this topic, I discussed readers’ tendency to skip overblown descriptive passages. These tend to be […]Read more "The Parts Readers Skip: Transitions & Bathroom Breaks"
The late Elmore Leonard suggested writers should leave out the parts that readers tend to skip. You could do worse than trying to model yourself after Leonard, who knew a few things about writing. My initial response to this advice, however, was to bristle and say, “Well, I don’t ever skip anything.” You see, I’ve […]Read more "The Parts Readers Skip: Too Much Description"
Nothing reveals character as much as dialogue. This applies in real-life as much as it does in fiction. I can hear your objection to this. Talk is cheap, you say? Actions speak louder than words. I understand your position on this. If a person’s actions are inconsistent with the words they speak, that still reveals […]Read more "I Like The Way You Talk (How Tarantino, Sorkin & Kevin Smith Won Me Over with Dialogue)"
This quote has often been misattributed to Hemingway, just as it is here. There’s no evidence that this piece of advice ever originated with Ernest Hemingway at all. According to Quote Investigator, the most likely source of the original quote was a novel by humorist Peter De Vries, Reuben, Reuben, written in 1964, three years […]Read more "Write Drunk, Edit Sober (good bad advice on how to tap your creativity like a keg)"
This post, at its heart, is an essay about developing ideas for writing projects. I’m no stranger to having ideas. Ideas are cheap. The implication that a good idea is all you need to write any work of fiction, from a short story to a multi-volumed series of books, is somewhat insulting. Especially to […]Read more "Idea Building (creative writing tips from Pencil Sketches, Modeling Clay and Fred Saberhagen)"