Archive for March, 2012

If you’re like me, you’ve been irritated in the past by flashback scenes with unclear beginnings and endings… or worse, flashbacks that seem at first to have happened last week, but in fact happened 5000 years ago in the age of the Legendary Hero. Any time you use a flashback in fiction, you also introduce […]

One of the things I keep learning as I write is how important it is not to mistake your own emotions for your readers’ emotions as they react to your story. Late in 2008, after what seemed like an unbelievable amount of planning & continuity problems, I finished a draft of a novel and went […]

People often talk about round vs flat characters, dynamic vs iconic characters. Instead, today, I want to ramble a little bit about another distinction — a distinction, you might say, between archetypal heroes and distinct characters. I’m not trying to make this the Grand Unified Theory of all fiction here, just pointing out something interesting that I’ve seen […]

Today I’m just going to present 4 quick examples of a device you can use to delight your reader. I’m sure there’s some kind of classical rhetorical term for this, but I don’t know it. I just call it a sentence with parallel structures: a sentence where a statement is made, then repeated with the […]

I just wanted to throw out a link to a good article dealing with a question that plagues writers of secondary-world fantasies: how to deal with units of measurement?

I hear from the wonderful Neile Graham that acceptances have gone out to the Clarion West Class of 2012. This year’s instructor lineup looks amazing: Mary Rosenblum, Hiromi Goto, George R.R. Martin, Connie Willis, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, and Chuck Palahniuk. This time last year, when I received my Class of 2011 acceptance, my heart was split between maniacal glee […]



I wanted to spread the word about a new philanthropic startup, GoneReading. I’m not sure about the phrase “reading lifestyle” 😀 but the idea is that you buy their literary swag, and they donate the profits. From their FAQ:  To fulfill our philanthropic mission, Gone Reading International donates 100% of its after-tax profit to fund new reading libraries […]