How to Paint Layers into Your Writing

After watching my wife work on a couple of her oil paintings, I’ve  come to realize that producing a work of fiction is very similar to creating a painting. Too many new writers have unrealistically low expectations about how good a first draft can be due to an overabundance of writerly advice that suggests fixing…

Part 2: The 40 Best Tips from Successful Authors & When to Ignore Them

Here’s Part 2 of my massive article on writer’s tips on writing. You can read Part 1 here. 21. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” –Anton Chekhov, playwright and short story writer Chekhov is widely accepted as one of the greatest writers in history. If…

Why be an Author?

Why would anyone in their right mind be an author? I’m not referring to being a writer; that’s different. There is only a single reason to be a writer — you were born that way. Sure, it may take you a while to notice it, as it did in my case. But the writer is…

there lived a boy

One summer’s day there lived a boy who went unloved, bereft of joy Perhaps, he was (just as they said) a bit too young too hard of head A bit too grown to be just four a smidge too sad too prone to war A taste too much like dear old dad a bit too…

Writing Interesting Characters

I’ve said any number of times that I am a character-centric reader. That is, my interest in a book is largely determined by how well I can connect to the characters. So it’s not surprising that I write the same way – if I can fall in love with my characters, I know I can…

The Next Big Thing

I was invited by Mary Ann Bernal to participate in a blog-chain called “My Next Big Thing.” Mary Ann’s next big thing is called The Briton and the Dane: Concordia, and will be available in January 2013. Details on my Next Big Thing are below!  What is the working title of your book? The Juice…

Progress

I am having a good day, I’ve decided. First, I finished updates of Emprise this week, and last night successfully built the epub (Nook & Apple) and mobi (Kindle) ebook documents. I will start populating Amazon and other sites this week. Emprise will go on sale on 1 November! I am excited to get this…

How Much Description is Enough?

Since I am self-taught as a writer, I usually feel like a fraud when I post anything that sounds as if I’m being instructional. Who am I to tell anyone how to write, when I have rarely let anyone tell me? So, it is with some trepidation that I post this. But then I remember…

A Very Small Matter of Outlining

Now, I already know what you’re saying, Alica McKenna-Johnson. “I already told you, I’m a total pantser.” Yeah, yeah. Oh great, now the rest of you are nodding. (sigh) So there you are, happily kicking the story along by the seat of its … pants. You don’t want to stop and outline, because the words…