Finding Your Voice

Some writers seem to write brilliant stories right out of the blocks. They’re twenty-something and their stories light up the eyes of readers, and award-nomination committees. These writers seem to have some innate ability to understand story from the outset. They know how to engage readers. They know which words to use to key into our emotions. They know pacing and dialogue and character. I envy them. To an extent. I suspect many more writers are like myself. Less innate ability and more passion, with a drive to learn and spend time in the seat writing the next story. I … Read more

Back Up Everything as if Your Life Depended on it

One computer? For everything? Maybe a few scattered USB drives with occasional backups? I’ve already recommended having a separate writing computer, but I appreciate that’s not always possible or practical. But one thing we writers really do need to make sure we do is create backups of our work. I’m not talking about “Oh I keep it in the cloud”. I’m talking about something you control. But you must back it up. Hard drives fail. USBs fail. Cloud services go out of business. If this is your livelihood, and even if it’s not, keep good backups. Please correct me if … Read more

Writing with Everything Shut Off

I am fortunate enough to have a dedicated writing computer. It’s an old clunker, I suppose, purchased secondhand from a computer recycling place. {Note, the recycling place had already been paid by the person from whom they received it. $10 or thereabouts. Then, I paid to take it off their hands. Smart.} This computer is kept in a corner of my writing office. It has no internet connection. Just writing software. Well, that and Winamp, which I use to listen to music. Have I written yet about how much I enjoy listening to music when I write? Another time then. … Read more

Reading for Pleasure, Reading to Learn

I read a lot. Most writers, I’m guessing, do the same. Part of the territory. My reading habits have changed somewhat over the last few years, and once again, I’m guessing that many people have the same experience. Reading social media and online news and whatever else pops up at us seems to take up a little slice of reading time that used to go into the reading of novels. Still, over the course of a year I read an awful lot of fiction. Some of these books are brilliant, and some are stinkers. Well, I should put that in … Read more

The Joy of Not Knowing What’s Coming

Many writing courses will suggest outlining your work. Many writers will expound greatly about how critical an outline is to creating a solid, cohesive work. After all, how can you reach your destination without a map? Just like writers to use a metaphor. There is merit to the idea, of course. If you’re building a house–to continue with metaphors–then you want a set of plans. Heaven forbid that engineers would construct a bridge or a dam without a well-thought out and tested guide to where all the pieces go. But then, fiction writing is not those things. Fiction is entertainment. … Read more

Breaking Rules – The series trap

Common sense (or perhaps common mythology) suggests that an indie writer should focus on series. You need to have your follow-up ready to go soon. Readers want to get their teeth into the next volume in your series. Some writers are very good at that. I’m not one of those. I do write in series. Too many series. I have multiple volumes in each of The Hidden Dome, Captain Arlon Stoddard, Emily Jade and Karnish River Navigations series. I jump all over the place. From one series to the other; to non-series novels (which then might turn into series); to … Read more