The Journal: Openings and Nicknames

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Openings * Nicknames * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “When the uncreative tell the creative what to do, it stops being art.” Tony Bennett “Writing a compelling opening for your novel isn’t optional, it’s essential.” Maggie Smith of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers “Authors today need a publisher as much as they need a tapeworm in their guts.” Rayne Hall “If Big Publishing priced ebooks for optimum sales and profits, there wouldn’t be any ‘decline’ in ebook sales to write clickbait stores about.” The Passive Guy Topic: Openings I just … Read more

The Journal: Attitude

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Attitude * Of Interest Quote of the Day (maybe quote of the year) “I don’t need easy. I just need possible.” Katie Bone, American Ninja Warrior contestant Attitude In “Of Interest” you’ll see the second link is to a post by Dean Wesley Smith about attitude. That post is almost as short as this one is. It’s also where I got the quote of the day. And in the article itself, shortly after that quote, Dean wrote, “Well folks, being a professional writer is possible. … It’s not easy, but it … Read more

The Journal: Mentorships Now Available

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Food for Thought * Mentorships Now Available * The Novel * A Few Words on Genre * Of Interest Quote of the Day “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” Herman Melville Food for Thought So I don’t forget, here’s a free copy of brand-new handout: Craft and Non-Craft Topics to Stir Thought. When you click the link, a blank screen will open and the document will download automatically. Mentorships Now Available Because it’s difficult for me to let go of a concept once I sink … Read more

The Journal: The Mentorships and the Novel

In today’s Journal * The Mentorships * Topic: The Novel (and Cycling) * Of Interest The Mentorships Well, the mentorships are definitely a go. I’ve already had a good response. (Thanks to those who responded so quickly.) If this is something that interests you, please email me at to let me know. I also decided against including the mentorships on the Patronage page. Instead, over the next few days I’ll develop a new page strictly for the Mentorships (I’ve decided now there probably will be two levels). I’ll also create a new PayPal subscription button specifically for the mentorships. … Read more

The Journal: Patronage and Mentorships

In today’s Journal * Patronage * Mentorships(?) * Of Interest Patronage It’s been a very long time since any of my patrons have requested anything from me. I’m only one guy, and I don’t have a fulfillment team. So if you’re a patron and you’d like to claim a reward, please email me at to let me know what you’d like to have. I’m more than happy to send it right out. Since I haven’t been writing much for the past year, obviously there’s been nothing new to send out, but all of the patronage tiers now include items … Read more

The Journal: Story Ideas

In today’s Journal * Topic: Story Ideas * Of Interest Topic: Story Ideas As I was telling a friend recently, story ideas can come from anywhere. Most often they come to me as a character or two popping into my head, usually with a line of dialogue that frames the genre and the story voice. Less often, something I see physically or overhear or read will spark a story idea. Regardless of the mode of their arrival, my stories are seldom born of whole cloth. A story idea is only a lever to get you to the keyboard. While I … Read more

The Journal: Synopses and Writer’s Block

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Synopses * Topic: Writer’s Block * Yesterday * Today, etc. * Of Interest Quotes of the Day On writing synopses “I hate even the idea of a synopsis. When stories are really working, when you’re providing subtextual exploration and things that are deeply layered, you’re obligated to not say things out loud.” Shane Carruth “A synopsis is a cold thing. You do it with the front of your mind. If you’re going to stay with it, you never get quite the same magic as when you’re going all out.” J. … Read more

The Journal: Thoughts on Writing Sex Scenes

In today’s Journal * Thoughts on Writing Sex Scenes * Of Interest Thoughts on Writing Sex Scenes In today’s Kill Zone blog (see “Of Interest”), PJ Parrish (actually two authors) presented a post on writing sex scenes. But don’t get too excited. The article isn’t so much a how-to as an ought-to. I linked to the post because it was well written, witty and entertaining. That said, I disagree with the seeming basic premise of the post, that writing explicit sex scenes is necessary to a good story, at least anywhere other than in erotic or other genres where that … Read more

The Journal: Punctuation for Writers

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Punctuation for Writers * Of Interest Quote of the Day “There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” Flannery O’Connor Punctuation for Writers In today’s KillZone blog (see “Of Interest”), James Scott Bell points out a major problem—confusion over the use of punctuation—and what might easily be considered the number one rule of writing: Don’t confuse the reader. I should mention that ehe use of each mark of punctuation in the paragraph above is “correct,” not because it follows some arbitrary rules, but because it’s the … Read more

The Journal: We’re Back

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * We’re Back * About the Archives * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “It’s very important in life to know when to shut up.” Alex Trebek “Values are not trendy items that are casually traded in.” Ellen Goodman We’re Back As has seemingly become my routine recently, I’m posting this primarily to get the items linked in “Of Interest” out to you. Nothing earth-shaking there, but some good stuff. I’m also posting this edition to announce that the Journal is back home again. And by the way, my sincere thanks to … Read more