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…

I’m Writing Six Books at Once

It’s stupid, I know, but I have a bunch of sequel and new book ideas and I’ve been struggling to decide which one I like the most. They all have working titles, but I’m not revealing them yet. It’s actually seven books, but that’s more a collection of stories, which is a distinctly different process….

Le Journal de Das Book, Day 0

I am seldom subject to self-delusion. It has been the bane of my existence, this longing for rationality. No, it is not the desire of my dear, sweet frontal lobe, that tattered handmaiden burdened to my subconscious’ longing for prime numbers in all things. The poor dear is merely slave to its master, doing the…

you deserve

You deserve joy and love and laughter walks on a moonlit beach and tickles from the breath of God at your back. You deserve pain-free days and passionate nights best-sellers and gallery displays and knowing you are and have ever been beautiful. You deserve to see what I have seen within you and to cast…

Background Work

I decided that the main character of the new book, Jeanne “Dark” D’Arc, owns a 1972 Renault Alpine. She is proudly, almost stubbornly French, and the year is special to her. Her personal symbol is the Ibis, which she had painted on her car. It is a clumsy bird, inelegant, until it can take flight. Having…

The Next Book, Day 1

They whisper to me, you know. Like auditory hallucinations, I can hear their breathing, inside my ear, their breathy words, their admonitions. Although they speak mostly gibberish, as if I were dreaming, it is their emotional content I recognize. She wants out, does Jeanne Dark. I begin to see the colors of her graphemes, and…

Seeing the Future via Event Wheels

I was watching a poorly done movie about a viral outbreak today – I don’t even remember the title, though it ended twenty minutes ago – and as my mind wandered, I started thinking about strategic planning. Wait, that’s not as weird as you think. When I finished graduate school, I went to work for…

Getting Dark

My next book, which I will start plotting this month, stars a female Security Analyst – a female Sherlock Holmes type – who is gifted with Synesthesia. Her partner is a burly, ex-Army Ranger with what he calls a “Crazy Magnet.” Together, they stumble across a plot that threatens to unravel the uneasy thread of…

Outlining Short (or longer) Works

  Getting  organized can really blow. Typically, I don’t outline short stories. That isn’t because I don’t think I need them. Frankly, I think any story can benefit from a bit of outlining. Rather, I use short stories as stretching exercises; since I am by nature organized, I use shorter pieces to expand my extemporaneous…

Plots or Pants?

I have seen a great deal of online discussion regarding whether or not one should plot. I have largely been on the sidelines of the debate, as to me, this is another “is the glass half-empty or half-full?” argument. (Neither, your glass is the wrong size for your content.) There are two schools in this…