On Mysteries and the Status Quo

I’m a devoted listener to the podcast Writing Excuses — despite their claims to the contrary, they really are that smart — and found their most recent episode, on Middle Grade fiction, to be fascinating. (Defining Middle Grade is contentious, but loosely, it’s fiction for kids 9-12: think Charlotte’s Web, the first Harry Potter book, […]

2011 In Review

2011 has been an exciting year for me as a writer. I had my first fiction sale, my first podcast sale, and went to my first convention (Boskone). I won a Codex contest, and did respectably well in another. I signed my first autographs, at Readercon. I bought way too many fountain pens. In terms […]

Suspension of Disbelief

Over on Whatever, John Scalzi pokes a little fun at the folks who (are? profess to be?) thrown out of the Lord of the Rings by the viscosity of the lava in Mount Doom. He makes an excellent point that the suspension of disbelief is a highly personal thing, subject to much head-scratching by observers […]

Text, Subtext, and Claude Shannon

Early on after I started writing again, I joined an online critique group, Critters. I got a lot of good feedback from it, but only one critique was so good that I still remember it more than a year later. It was from a pro writer who correctly pointed out that the story wasn’t really […]

The Body and the Bomb post-mortem

I had wanted to put up a thread earlier for my story The Body and the Bomb, published back in April by Crossed Genres, but I don’t think that page is the appropriate place for me to put my thoughts about the story — I don’t entirely subscribe to the “death of the author” or […]

On the Killing of Darlings

Just about every writer has heard the advice, “Kill your darlings” (and if you haven’t, you just did). The advice has come to have an almost mythic quality to it. Hell, someone even titled a movie about a writer after it. The “kill your darlings” formulation apparently comes from Faulkner (who graciously specified that this […]

What Fiction Writers Can Learn From Moonshiners

Distillation of spirits is a wonderful process in which one starts with an alcoholic liquid and proceeds to remove as much of the water as possible in order to concentrate the alcohol and flavors. This is made possible by the fact that different liquids have different boiling and freezing points. The simplest method for doing […]