Frank Herbert’s Dune: Writing Lessons Part 1

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan.  I’ve read everything he has written including his letters.  I used his letters to write a few blog posts about what Tolkien had to teach us about writing and those do pretty well and still see blog traffic. However, I haveContinue reading “Frank Herbert’s Dune: Writing Lessons Part 1”

What Andy Weir (Author of “The Martian”) Can Teach Us About Writing

This summer I burned through several books in the down time between publishing The Terminarch Plot all the other things I had to do around the house.  One of the best books I read this summer, soon to be a major motion picture starring Matt Damon, was The Martian by Andy Weir. The book is amazing, a veryContinue reading “What Andy Weir (Author of “The Martian”) Can Teach Us About Writing”

New Podcast Up: Not So Fantastic Four

Well, we saw it…and it wasn’t HORRIBLE…we guess. Ryan and I discuss the new Fantasic Four film and what writers can learn from it. There are many lessons in this podcast from characterization to plot development to sustaining a threatening villain. Fantastic Four had none of these and we break it down for you fromContinue reading “New Podcast Up: Not So Fantastic Four”

3 Ways to Keep Your Villain from Monologuing

When my kids were little, they loved watching the Disney Pixar film The Incredibles.  During this film there is a scene where the villain, Syndrome, defeats Mr. Incredible with his terrible machine and then when he’s telling Mr. Incredible about his evil plans Incredible throws a log at him.  Syndrome dodges it, traps Mr. Incredible inContinue reading “3 Ways to Keep Your Villain from Monologuing”

Why Should Readers Care About Your Protagonist?

My current WIP has sent me through several psychological states: first elation, then dread, then depression, then elation again, and then probably bi-polar disorder. I spent nearly 6 months designing five separate solar systems complete with flora and fauna, alien races, cultures, history, and tons of other things that probably would bore you to death.Continue reading “Why Should Readers Care About Your Protagonist?”

Using Setting to Develop a Plot

I’ve seen many different articles around the inter-webs about plot development.  Usually there are two schools of thought: Create highly developed character bios and then they will inform what kind of plot needs to develop. Create a highly developed plot and then the characters will take shape based on the plot created. I have anotherContinue reading “Using Setting to Develop a Plot”

New Podcast Up: Villains and Walking Dead Spoilers

On this episode we discuss villains. What makes a great villain? What are the ingredients for excellent and engaging villains that readers will love to hate and love to somehow empathize with? We also discuss the AMC debacle with the Season 5 mid-season finale goof where AMC actually spoiled their own program for West CoastContinue reading “New Podcast Up: Villains and Walking Dead Spoilers”

Plot Development and the Sociological Conundrum

As some of you know I am a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.  Some of you who do not watch the show might be saying “Eeww.  But it’s about zombies, right?”  Don’t judge.  I have watched the show since the pilot episode, and the reason I love it so much is not becauseContinue reading “Plot Development and the Sociological Conundrum”

Show, Don’t Tell…But Don’t Show Too Much

I am trying a new technique with my latest novel.  I am finding it to be a refreshing way to tell a story, and fun to create puzzles that the reader has to solve.  Let me give you an example.  The following is a chapter from my novel in which Ethan relates his struggle afterContinue reading “Show, Don’t Tell…But Don’t Show Too Much”

5 Questions Every Novelist Should Answer

Writing consumes me.  It consumes most of my time when I’m not playing with my kids, helping my wife out with all the chores necessary to run a household and working full time.  As a teacher, summers are great.  I get to spend more time writing, working on the novel, and generally futzing about withContinue reading “5 Questions Every Novelist Should Answer”