We are writers. No matter what we write, we are writing about life, about living, about the things that matter to us, about the pain and joy and music and poetry of living. We are writing about the insecurity and excitement of romance, a mystery that needs to be solved, a life decision that needs to be made, a loss that has been suffered, a battle or war that needs to be fought.
We write, and as we write, we incorporate and use every good and wonderful and easy thing that has happened to us, as well as every difficult and painful and dreadful thing that has happened to us in the past. All that we are, all that we have survived, is part of our characters and our plotlines and the landscapes of our writing. The feel of water from a cold shower can be interpreted and twisted into […]
Continue reading When Life Gets In The Way – And It Will
The other night, my wife and I were watching old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (we own the whole series on disk). We’re on season 5 right now, and we came to one of our favorite episodes: the first episode with Bajoran Starfleet Ensign Ro Laren (played by Michelle Forbes). Ro was an amazing character — and this is a terrific episode — because she was everything a Starfleet officer wasn’t supposed to be: rebellious and disdainful of authority, prickly and opinionated, and more devoted to her own people than to the principles on which Starfleet was founded. Adding her to the cast shook things up a bit, and freshened the series at a time when it might otherwise have started to grow stale.
As I watched, it occurred to me that other shows of which I’m a fan had done very similar things with their casts. […]
Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: What We Can Learn From Ro Laren
I owe an apology to all of you.
To every person I have critiqued at a Live Action Slush, to every student whose manuscript I’ve marked up, to every aspiring writer I’ve advised with arrogant confidence, I am truly sorry.
For what, you ask.
For failing to realize just how fortunate I am, and have been, to have the career I’ve had.
What has brought this on?
Well, I am editing Children of Amarid, my very first novel. I have the rights back to the book — to the entire series, actually — and I’m planning to come out with what I call the Author’s Edit (kind of like the Director’s Cut of a movie). So I’m reading through the book, editing as I go, rediscovering the tale that kicked off my career.
And it’s awful. I mean TERRIBLE. I am mortified to realize this book has been in […]
Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: Revisiting the Past, and Finding Out We Sucked
In my last post a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about writing on a daily basis. I basically said that while no one should tell you that you have to do this in order to be successful, writing every day, despite life’s intrusions, is what professionals do. It is also the best way to build skills. For reasons I’ll get into soon, I hate the phrase “practice makes perfect.” But practice certainly does make proficient.
Still, while I recommend writing each day, that’s only half the story. No matter how often we write, or for how long, we need to set realistic expectations for ourselves. Because if we write every day, but we expect too much out of those writing sessions, we can do more damage than good.
I’ve said this before and I will continue to say it until people stop listening (you are listening, right?): writing is […]
Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: Realistic Expectations (and a Little Math)
One hears conflicting advice these days on the question of whether aspiring writers should try to write every day. Some will say that it’s important to write, but it’s also important to take time away from the work when we need the rest, when we’re exhausted physically or emotionally, when all that other stuff that falls under the heading of “life” gets so overwhelming that we can’t write at all. That was, in essence, the point of Tamsin’s wonderful post a couple of weeks ago.
And Tamsin, who I adore, is absolutely right.
I am one of those obnoxious old fart writers (I have a birthday coming up very, very soon, and yes, I’m feeling a bit like an old fart) who shakes his cane at the young’uns and says in a voice much like that of Bart Simpson’s grandfather that writers ought to write each and every day. […]
Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: On Writing Every Day
How many of you have complete manuscripts that you have yet to send out for publication? A lot of you, I’d wager. For some of you it might be a novel that you’ve finished but want to revise one more time. Or maybe two more times . . . For others it might be a short story, or several. All of them are finished, but none of them feels quite ready. You can’t imagine showing them to an editor, at least not yet. One more pass. Just a little more revising and polishing.
And you may be right. The works in question might need a bit more work. Or they might not. For all you know, they’re ready now. For all you know, the only thing standing between you and that first sale, is your reluctance to let go of your work.
I see this a lot with aspiring writers. […]
Continue reading Quick Tip Tuesday: A Challenge to All — Time to Take the Plunge!
Welcome to another Quick-Tip Tuesday!
It’s not always easy to come up with a new topic for these posts. We’ve been over a lot of material here at MW throughout the years. I know that on my own I’ve written over 300 MW posts; all told we’re coming up on two thousand for the site. It sometimes seems that there is nothing new I could possibly publish in this space that wouldn’t repeat in some way material you can find in an archived post.
But of course, if one of those older articles was written by Faith, Misty, John, or someone else, then I might have some perspective on the subject matter that they didn’t. And even if it’s an issue that I covered myself, it may be that subsequent experience has changed my approach or given me fresh insights.
In short, just because a subject has been discussed before, […]
Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: Do Not Fear the Scoop!