Skip to content

Monthly Archives: January 2011

On Dramatic Action: Open Season and The Dead Cat Bounce

Tweet Yesterday I talked about one of my shortcomings as a writer: I pull my punches. I claimed that I learned that from two atrocious, miserable books my professor made me read. So what were the two books I hated so much? Open Season and The Dead Cat Bounce. Open Season Open Season by C. […]

On Dramatic Action: Pulling My Punches

Tweet This month I’ve been talking about the books I read and the lessons I learned during a Category Fiction class last fall. One of the things I admire most about the structure of the course is the way the professor managed to turn profoundly bad books into brilliant educational opportunities. So far I’ve had […]

What I Learned About Writing This Week…from Christmas Decorations

I love my Christmas stuff. But after awhile — especially after New Year’s — it starts to become just that: stuff. It turns into clutter, and I can’t see my life through it anymore. Sometimes, dear inklings, our writing is like that…

On Dramatic Action: Playing Karate

Tweet I’ve got a nephew with Sensory Deprivation Disorder. It’s an uncommon phenomenon, and a strange one at that. Basically (as I understand it), his body has trouble recognizing the physical impact of his environment. That kinda sounds like the making of a sci-fi novel, or like some dreadful problem. It’s really not that bad. […]

On Reader Expectations: Carpe Demon and The Second Opinion

Tweet Yesterday I talked about some of the things I learned about reader expectations in my Category Fiction class. By way of example, I mentioned some techniques for building suspense in Thriller novels. There was more, though. To my horror, I realized after six months of promoting my suspense series as a Thriller that it’s […]

On Reader Expectations: Genre Conventions

Tweet Last week I started reviewing some of the novels we read in my Category Fiction class with a pretty brutal panning of our Women’s Fiction samples. Along the way, I mentioned a startling similarity in their plots — not just in those two books, but in all Women’s Fiction novels. I was genuinely surprised […]

What I Learned about Writing This Week…from Mark Twain

You know how we speak of someone’s being well-read? In some circles, I’d be the opposite of that: terribly-read. I can hold forth on plot and character of a great many classics so convincingly, you’ll come away from our tête-à-tête thinking I’m all sorts of brilliantly literate. You won’t know that when it comes to classic literature, I’m kind of a fake…

On Reader Expectations: Las Vegas, NV

Tweet A couple weeks ago, Trish took the kids to Wichita for a weekend and left me home alone. And, no, I’m not talking about my lonely Christmas. This was a few weeks after that. It was on the calendar as an opportunity for me to get some work. I tend to do that when […]

On Other People’s Books: The Cinderella Deal and First Lady

Tweet This month we’re talking about a Category Fiction class I took last fall, and some of the things I learned from reading eleven novels along the way. The novels, I should mention, were hand-picked by our professor. She said she wanted us to see published books — successful books, many of them books with […]

On Other People’s Books: Wide Exposure

Tweet I started this week with a brief description of the Category Fiction class I took last fall. One of the big surprises in that story was how much I enjoyed the class. The class’s merit wasn’t the only thing that caught me off-guard. I’d spent some time dreading all the driving I’d have to […]