The Highwayman’s Quarry – Thieves’ Cant

“Mill the gig with a betty, then we’ll strip the ken and backslang it out of here. I’ll lumber the swag at the stalling crib and we’ll be up in the stirrups.”* One of the fun parts of writing a story set in the underworld of 18th-century London is getting to use Thieves’ Cant, or […]

Showing vs. Telling Part Two

Yesterday I talked about how to get just the right amount of “cowbell” in your story: no more than 10 or 20 percent should be exposition or “telling.” I also broke down three different types of writing: exposition, narrative summary, and scene. Now let’s look at some examples to see how writers, from novelists to […]

On Showing vs. Telling; or, More Cowbell!

I’m going to say a couple of blasphemous things here. First, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” could use more cowbell. And second, in writing it’s sometimes okay to tell rather than show. A friend posted this article by Chuck Palahniuk in our writing group a few weeks back, and somehow it got under my skin. In six seconds, you’ll […]

The Highwayman’s Quarry – Architecture

Writing fiction set in the late eighteenth century, it’s easy to imagine every building falling into the Georgian period of architecture, something like this image of the Crown and Anchor:

Daring and Decorum Has a Publisher

I’m so pleased to announce that Daring and Decorum will be published later this year by Supposed Crimes, a small publisher focusing on LGBTQ genre fiction. Among their stable of writers is Geonn Cannon, the award-winning author of the Riley Parra series and more. I haven’t made a big deal about the central relationship in Daring […]

I Hope Trump Fails

I hope Trump fails to destroy our nation. I hope Trump fails to defy our Constitution. I hope Trump fails to repeal Obamacare. I hope Trump fails to deport the Dreamers. I hope Trump fails to overturn marriage equality. I hope Trump fails to register Muslims. I hope Trump fails to unleash the KKK. I […]

Endless Cups of Tea

Kameron Hurley has a great new post, “The Madhatter Teaparty: Rescuing Your Characters from Endless Cups of Tea,” about the problem of novels becoming too talky. Plot kicks my ass. It kicks my ass up one end of a story and down another, because honestly, all my characters want to do is snark at each other […]

New Writing

I wrote a piece on Native Californians and the environment for KCET’s website. It’s part of their Tending the Wild series. Very pleased about this, and thanks to Chris Clarke for asking me to do it. You can find it here.

Writing Fiction Ate My Nonfiction Brain

(So I only waited nine months to write my first post of the year — long story for another time.) I was writing an article for KCET.org recently when I realized that my brain doesn’t work quite the way it used to. This should have been a return to familiar ground, since the article was […]

Tremontaine at the Midpoint

(Spoiler warning: The following review gives away a couple of events in the first quarter of the series in order to establish character conflicts. Beyond that, you won’t find any big plot revelations.)  Tremontaine, Serial Box Publishing’s prequel to Ellen Kushner’s Riverside series of novels, will certainly feel familiar to Kushner fans, yet it also […]

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