Dunnett’s brilliant, swashbuckling novel Race of Scorpions turns about the 15th Century dynastic war in Cyprus. Her page 1 structure is flawless. Page 1. Building Worlds, Time and Place. Dunnet is wise not to drop us into Cyprus immediately. Her Italian hero Niccolo is never easy in his allegiances, and his machinations will be so clever and […]Read More The Renaissance Rocks. Writing Tips, Day 1.
There’s never been a better time to live a full-time writer’s life along with a full-time working and personal life. Addressing key points in manuscripts during non-drafting time is one way to manage it. Digging Deep via Brainstorming For example, your Act 2 or, as Campbell and Vogler* call it, the “Belly of the Beast” section, […]Read More Fitting a Writing Career Into a Full-time Life. Writing Time, Part 100.
Writing is a demanding profession. That’s partly why we chose it. And, as with all exacting professions, the learning process continues forever. It’s About Process It’s been years since we realized that becoming a writer is not about arriving someplace. We never stop becoming writers. We try our craft, inspiration, and imagination against those of our […]Read More Friday Reflections. Writing Time, Part 99.
Sometimes we go a bit crazy with the work, and for a while it’s fine. We’re in final edits for one project, another is in development, and a third is at 30,000 words. And then, without warning, the cliffs of story loom above and descend below. It all seems too much. We think, maybe there’s […]Read More Averting Writers’ Vertigo. Writing Time, Part 98.
Everything changes in this world of writing and publishing. The truth remains: there’s never been a better time to write and publish. We’re told the opposite, of course, but if you drive your time machine back thirty years or eighty years, you’ll hear the same old discouraging comments. I’m convinced that could one accompany Louisa […]Read More There’s Never Been a Better Time. Writing Time, Part 97.
I’m reading novel submissions these days, and reflecting upon the question of excellence in writing. In the best work, writers are building upon structural understandings and storytelling gifts (I see how GRR Martin sets up his huge cast of characters in triangles.) developing central and supporting characters that are true to themselves (as with Robert […]Read More On Excellence in Writing. Writing Time, Part 96.
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” –Douglas Adams “There is nothing the wise man does reluctantly.” –Seneca What can you teach me, Deadlines? I already know that I shouldn’t procrastinate, so what more can I learn from you? Deadlines Are Promises Deadlines force us to leave hyper-perfectionism […]Read More Deadlines Are Good Teachers. Writing Time, Part 95
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits… I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” Barack Obama, interviewed in Vanity Fair All the decisions and judgements we make in our daily lives keep said […]Read More Decisions, Decisions. Writing Time, Part 94
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments,” Jim Rohn wrote. But it sometimes seems that the lion’s share of energy goes towards to the accomplishments side, and far less towards goals. Today’s Goal of All Goals Because our lives are so busy, writing to-do lists can feel as if we’re setting goals. For many […]Read More Goals, The Lion’s Share. Writing Time, Part 93
I don’t want to call it “writer’s block.” I don’t even believe in “writer’s block.” What I do believe in is our work ethic, and how we writers are often too hard on ourselves. After all, we work to our own rhythms, and hear others say, “I don’t know how you manage to write. I’d never […]Read More The Sweet Dog Days of Writing. Writing Time, Part 92