A Note on the Creative Process

Hey Folks, Back in mid-December 2014 a friend wrote in a private blog post that a non-writing creative project she was working on “would go faster if I didn’t keep redesigning it.” For me, that sounded like her subconscious popping up to slap her around a little. Like me, she’s a proponent and practitioner of just writing off into the dark. That is, we Just Write, allowing the characters to lead us into and out of … Read more

Length of Various Fiction Forms

Hey Folks, Recently I’ve been asked more than once the length of the various forms of fiction. Yawwwn. Stretch. Sigh. Okay, this is one of those “wrapped around the wheel” things that’s great for personal use if you don’t obsess over it. The answer is, it depends on whom you ask. For example, although some major magazines (Asimov’s springs to mind) publish both novelettes and novellas, most definitions online consider those two terms interchangeable. But you … Read more

Let’s Go Streaking

Hi Folks, First, Happy New Year! I hope it’s perfect for you. If you’re a writer, there’s no better time than right now to go streaking. (grin) No wait… I mean, you know, there’s no better time to begin a new streak. Nah, I’m not talking about taking off all your clothes and racing around in public. Seriously, nobody wants to see that. I’m talking about eating an elephant. Remember the old (very wise) joke? Q: … Read more

An Essential Tip: Just Write the Scene

A long while back, I posted that if you’re writing and you get bogged down, you should just write the next sentence, then write the next sentence, and so on. Soon you’ll be back in the flow of your story and you can forge ahead. There’s one proviso—that “next sentence” should come directly from your subconscious (creative) mind. In other words, you shouldn’t force it and think about it and make it read just so. You … Read more

A Bit More on Goals

First, a public service announcement, especially for avid readers: if you’re going to be in or near Green Valley on December 6, I hope you’ll stop by to see me and a lot of other local and regional authors at the annual Meet the Authors Book Fair. That’s next Saturday, December 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Desert Hills Lutheran Church at 2150 South Camino Del Sol in Green Valley. I’ll have my new … Read more

A Few Resources and Goal Setting

Hey Folks, A few strong resources— If you’re serious about your work as a writer, check these out: http://deanwesleysmith.com—The resource-rich website of Dean Wesley Smith, my own unintentional mentor and one of the most prolific writers in America. While you’re there, check out the Think Like a Publisher and Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing tabs. I also recommend checking out his Online Workshops tab and his Lecture Series tab. Also while you’re there, remember that … Read more

My First Novel and Killing Writing Myths

Hi Folks, First, a salute to my brothers and sisters in the United States Marine Corps—Happy 239th birthday—and a respectful toast to our brothers and sisters in the other US armed forces as well as friends in the ROK Marines and the Corps of Royal Marines. May your days be vibrant, your evenings calm, your heart safe and warm at home. Okay, on to business. As I write this, I just finished my first novel. It’s … Read more

A New Era Begins: Writing Intensives and More

Hi Folks, Now that I’ve retired as a copyeditor and resigned my position as General Manager of the Universe, I have more time for my own writing. Fortunately, I can also focus on teaching writing to those who are serious about becoming professional writers. Most of my mechanics and techniques seminars (the ones I’ve taught all these years in Tucson, Bisbee, Green Valley and Willcox) are available online in my Audio Lecture Series. If you want … Read more

Notes on Being a Professional Writer

Hi Folks, When I was first learning to play the guitar at the age of 14, I was frustrated. Even after I learned to chord cleanly, nothing ever sounded quite the way it had when I’d heard it on the radio or when my uncle or others had played it. I checked and double-checked my chording, the progressions and timing between chords, and even how I was holding the guitar. Nothing seemed to make a difference. … Read more

A New Note in Punctuation

Hi Folks, When I edit a manuscript, my sole purpose is to make the reading experience seamless for the reader, thereby enhancing the writer’s reputation for excellent writing. When I’m finished there should be no rough edges over which the reader can stumble, no ambiguity or lags in the flow of information that can momentarily confuse the reader, and no punctuation that fails to direct the reading of the work and help convey the mood of … Read more