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Category Archives: Writing Philosophy

The World in Stories

One of the big items in the news today is the stimulus:  failure or success?  No, this isn’t a political post.  It’s a post, believe it or not, about story. Consider the cases of two average (and fictional) Americans; we’ll call them Patty and Paul.  Patty has been laid off from her job as a [...]

Uxoriousness (Uxoriosity?)

Yesterday, Mark and I watched 9.  You know, that kid’s movie with the kickass trailer that looked like it was going to be so, so amazing? Many parts of it were.  It was a fabulously original film with great graphics, cool action sequences, and a really wonderful hook.  The plot built, engaged, twisted, and then [...]

Smackdown: Literary vs. Genre

Last night, my writing group hit a bit of an awkward moment.  Outlander was talking about having read a Michael Connely novel, and I commented that Michael Connelly is the mystery writer’s mystery writer.  He is the person people describe as their major influence, their hero, their dream blurb.  And I said that I thought [...]

The Third Book

One of the lines I like to use with my friends is that “Writing a book is like writing three books.” If they need an explanation, the shorthand is this: “It’s just so much more work than you think it’s going to be.” But in fact, the three book analogy is a little more apt [...]

In Which the Web is Awesome

OK, you already knew that the web was awesome, right? But perhaps you don’t truly appreciate the depth of its awesomeness. Like how you can get from one teensy granule of information to the exact knowledge you’re seeking. I was looking for a paragraph. Just a random graf, from a random page in a random [...]

Oh…. of course!

One of the smartest things I ever heard about writing is that the end of your story should be surprising and inevitable. What’s that? Surprising… and inevitable? Surely those are contradictory. Well, sort of, yes. But you still have to do your best to hit them both. You’re going for an “Oh… of course!” moment. [...]

I Do Like Their Cartoons, Though

Just finished reading an article in the New Yorker, whose contention is that “writing can’t be taught.” And I have to laugh. Because of all of the great myths about writing, there’s none I know to be so profoundly false. I don’t really understand why people go around saying something so patently stupid, unless it’s [...]

Got Issues?

I think it was Grace Paley who said something like, “A story needs two stories. Not plot and subplot, but two stories that relate to each other.” When I’m planning something to write, I refer to these two stories as the Acute Issue and the Chronic Issue. Acute Issues are, well, acute: “Don’t get eaten;” [...]