Playing Jazz With Words

You hear a lot of talk of “discovery writers” and “outliners” in the writing world. The “pantsers” and the “plotters,” respectively. It’s true that there are a lot of people that fall into both categories–including many of my friends–and human nature loves dichotomies, but I’ve never fit comfortably either, and …

Failing the Wikipedia Test

Writing fiction in the age of the Internet can be fraught for the author who values authenticity–particularly if you write historical or technical fiction. Since the glorious thing about writing fiction is that you essentially make shit up to entertain other people, there are a range of opinions about the …

The Fonthead (An Epic, of sorts)

Even if I’m lucky enough to be in that generation that gets to live past a hundred and twenty, I doubt I will ever reconcile myself to fonts. I love fonts–I’ve been doing graphic design now for the better part of a decade. Titles, book covers, book layouts, pamphlets, movie …

Literary Studies, Anyone?

Disclaimer: What follows is a rant about something that can screw up the creative process. This post is more esoteric than is normal for this blog. It contains a lot of jargon, and talks a lot about academic politics and social history, and it won’t interest everybody. Don’t worry, though. …

Who’s an Outlier, Again?

A funny thing happens during times of great industrial upheaval: Everyone wants a piece of the new deal, but nobody wants to take what they perceive to be a risk. Most established players retrench, hold on to what’s familiar, and try to shout down anyone with a contravening opinion. It’s …

Unsuitable for Children?

So, Megan Cox Gurdon of the Wall Street Journal is concerned about the darkness in YA literature. It seems that such stories (written, as they are, for teenagers) might introduce unnecessary dreariness and misery into the otherwise sunny time of adolescence. It raises the obvious question: At what age does …

Principles of Contracts: Everybody Knows Peggy Lee (or should)

Preface: I mentioned this in the first post in this series, but because I’m going to be talking about some specific points of law in this post, I need to reiterate: I am not a lawyer, am not qualified to dispense legal advice, and none of what follows should be …

The Great Cull (Free Will Update)

When I started writing The Antithesis Progression, I had a nice, tidy three-book series in mind. Then I wrote it, and discovered that what I thought was book 1 was actually 2 books cleverly hiding inside my head under a single title. Well, no problem there. Turns out there was …

What’s in a Name? (Creating Kickass Titles)

There’s a black art to titles. Some of them have it, some of them don’t. “What’s ‘It’–aside from a Stephen King novel?” you ask. “It” is that thing that makes you notice. The thing that makes you pick up a book and look at the back cover. The thing that …

The Doctrine of Goofy Ideas

As a human being, I am entitled to my goofy ideas–and boy, do I have a lot of them. I can’t help it. I have a brain, and it has to do something while it’s waiting for the teapot to boil. Some people think about knitting, some people think about …