On the Attractions of Our Hunter-Gatherer Past – And Future

It sure beats staring at grocery shelves bereft of toilet paper and canned goods, wondering how bad the hoarding and the shortages might get.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

It’s Ada Lovelace Day, named after the mother of computers, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. And just for the occasion (not really, it was a complete coincidence), I’ve just finished the first draft of my post-post-apocalyptic novel, Ada’s Children.

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 […]

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 […]

Only Six Days Left to Get Desert Trilogy for Under a Buck

Desert Trilogy goes live in just six days, and I’m hoping you’ll pre-order it before then. You’ll get it for just $0.99, and the book will get a bump in sales on the official on-sale date. Win-win! Here’s a little teaser to get you to plunk down your hard-earned buck. (More excerpts are available here.) The […]

New Story Excerpt and eBook News

About a year ago, I started talking about self-publishing a small collection of stories set in the desert. I had two stories finished, but that seemed like too few to justify a collection, and so I began working on a third. Then that third story began giving me trouble, because I couldn’t decide on its […]

Hacking the Pluperfect

I’ve noticed an increasing allergy to the pluperfect among some writers lately. One writing advice columnist even suggested doing away with the verb “had.” This is a serious condition, folks, and it can lead to some seriously confusing writing. We need to stomp it out before it’s too late. What’s the pluperfect, you ask? Good […]

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