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 post has nothing at all to do with issue #600 of Action Comics, which was published in 1988 and celebrated 50 years of Superman history. Three additional decades have passed since then. Side note: there’s no traditional 80th anniversary gift, unless it’s a headstone or cremation urn. It’s not that this comic book wouldn’t […]Read more "Issue #600: All New! 80-page Giant Golden Anniversary Issue (or maybe I just put up my 600th post)"
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)"
Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash When I was a young man, I was confused about what was meant by a “writer’s voice.” I was committing words to paper, not recording an outgoing message on an answering machine. How does “voice” figure into that? Over the years, I’ve come to recognize the authorial voice. You […]Read more "Finding Your Writer’s Voice"
Okay. Maybe the word “essential” is overused. But, this is a more efficient title than “Firewater’s Personal Recommendations of Books for Writers, Limited to 10 of His Nonfictional Favorites.” As with any list of things, your personal mileage may vary. Although I haven’t read every book about writing or every reference book ever published, I […]Read more "10-List: Essential Books for Writers"