So you’re an American novelist and you’ve decided to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English. If your story is set in France it’s perfectly legit for your characters not to speak French if they happen to be, say, American. If your setting is... read more
As all writers know at this point, the great changes in the publishing industry in the past 10 – 15 years have made it possible for authors, like artists in the music world, to become their own producers.
Note: For more on this topic, see my previous blog post on Plot and Character Development where I state: “For me plot and character develop together, just as bone and muscle emerge together in the developing fetus.” To illustrate the points in this blog’s title I’ll use The Alpha’s Edge,... read more
Last week I was on the phone with an editor discussing my short story The Alpha’s Edge. She told me that when she hears a novelist say, “I want to write a short story” – mostly for the purpose of getting more material out into the marketplace quickly – she... read more
Beloved children’s book author Roald Dahl offers a checklist of qualities anyone wanting to make a living out of writing fiction must have. It’s found in a short piece called Lucky Break appearing at the end of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.
Tips for tapping into creativity: Take a new way to work. Wear your watch on your other wrist. Go crazy and part your hair on the other side for a change. There are few thoroughfares I like less than I-95, especially the stretch between North Carolina and Orlando, Florida. I’ve... read more
Rule #1. Don’t give characters names that begin with the same initial. If you have two characters Richard and Robert, it’s going to be difficult for your readers to tell them apart when reading at normal speed. It will not help to change their names to, say, Rick and Roberto.... read more
There is no one creative process. I was surprised to discover just the other day that the poet Yeats first wrote out in prose form what he then turned into a poem. It never occurred to me that poetry could originate in prose. I don’t know why it hadn’t, but... read more
You know who does good villains? Disney. Two easily come to mind: Claude Frollo the scrawny Archdeacon in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Ursula the massive sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Ruthless, self-righteous, religiously pious Frollo is super creepy – literally. As he creeps around the cathedral, spouting... read more
First: Aaaarrrrggghhh! (Yes, let’s just let out all the pain at the beginning.) Taking criticism is the worst. Horrible, horrible, viscera-writhing horrible. Okay, that’s done. Deep breath. Now let’s think constructively. Consider the source of the criticism before you consider whether you can learn from it. Take, for instance, reviews... read more