Blog Archives

LitRPG or The Art of Writing Quickly

Perhaps you’re familiar with the sub genre of fantasy called LitRPG. A friend of mine – Andrew Seiple – turned me on to it. He’s a fellow writer, gamer, and all-around good guy so I knew he wouldn’t steer me wrong. He’d begun to dabble in this genre, and since I am fortunate enough to edit his writing, he wanted to make sure I was up for editing his latest effort, a LitRPG story called Threadbare. As with all his work, I was hooked by page 2. He wrote 3 books in the Threadbare saga, and he published them first on …Read more »

The Girl in Gold

The new Vox Swift mystery is up on Amazon!  The Girl in Gold is book 2 of the series and wow was it fun to revisit the world of Thornbury. I knew that I wanted to return to find out what Vox and Even and the others had been up to since the end of Thornbury Confidential. And I know that I will return again — book 3 is already brewing in the back of my mind. I was fortunate to have the help of the very talented Taryn Costello for the cover. She’s agreed to redesign the cover for Thornbury …Read more »

Plot Problems Solved

I like to be surprised. Fresh implications and plot twists erupt as a story unfolds. Characters develop backgrounds, adding depth and feeling. Writing feels like exploring. ~ David Brin New writers tend to overthink plot. They outline and organize. Overthink and under-do. It’s safer to outline than to write. Feels easier too. Except that it’s not. Tell me a story Tell me a story. That’s all. The plot will work itself out. Unless you are telling an epic tale worthy of Tolkien or a mystery intricate enough to stump Agatha Christie, plot can take a backseat to good old fashioned storytelling. …Read more »

Fiction Engine

A novel is a machine. This is never more evident than during editing. Scenes come together like the gears meshing inside an engine. And for the writer, when the first draft is long done, and the story has lain fallow for a time, coming back to the story is like lifting the hood of your trusty car. You are now ready to edit! Editing When I was younger I did not care for editing. I thought that inspiration fell upon one from heaven and words flowed like a deep river. Poetry taught me the error of this thinking. I learned to …Read more »

Listen to the World

So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. ~Jiddu Krishnamurti Good dialog is essential to good storytelling. Characters need to express themselves, react to their environment, argue with each other, complain, cajole, compliment, question….  in other words: act human. Good dialog opens the story like a flower budding – everything expands, opening ideas and implications for the reader. Listen In order to write good dialog you have to listen to the …Read more »

DREADful Storytelling

Dread is a great role-playing game (RPG). Sharing similar roots to my beloved Dungeons and Dragons, Dread is a 21st Century twist on the RPG genre. I wanted to talk about it here because it’s one thing to be a player in a role-playing game; it is another beast entirely to be the Game Master. Running a role-playing game is equal parts writer, actor, and referee. I’ve talked about how Dungeons and Dragons inspired my writing journey, but this is a whole other level. Dread doesn’t have dice. No armor class. No stats. You give your players a character questionnaire …Read more »

The Company of Others

Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. ~ C.S. Lewis Want to be a better writer? Seek the company of other writers. While you are writing, write for yourself alone, but when you’ve made the best story you can make, you must solicit the opinions of other writers – how else do you improve? Ask I love the CS Lewis quote for this very reason. Asking for critique, getting another writer’s take on our work makes us better writers. Not because the others will rip …Read more »

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