Monthly Archives: March 2016

Them

Scrounging at the used book sale, I picked up a copy of Hothouse, a 1962 science fiction novel by Brian Aldiss. I’ve been trying to get into it, but after only 40 pages I’m getting stalled out. Last night I … Continue reading

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The Bad Guy

Every plotted novel needs an antagonist — someone to make the hero’s struggle difficult. In a few cases, the antagonist might be the raw forces of nature rather than a human, as in some of the stories of Jack London. … Continue reading

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Your Grammar Wears Army Boots

I like having an automatic spell-checker. As I’ve gotten older, the connections between my brain and my fingers get scrambled more often. That little squiggly red underline saves me any amount of embarrassment. I’ve never used a grammar/style checker. Last … Continue reading

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What Are They Thinking?

Should you tell your readers what your characters are thinking? There are several ways to look at this question. The most common viewpoint nowadays seems to be third-person limited. In this style of writing, the reader sort of lives inside … Continue reading

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Scrivening

Had a look last night and today at a program for writers called Scrivener. It offers some real advantages in letting you construct and rearrange a long document such as a novel. (Script-writing formats are also supported.) You can take … Continue reading

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Ten Little Words

I can tell you how to write great fiction in ten words. There are only two rules: Tell a good story. Put the reader in the scene. Back in the 1980s I had a 3×5 card with those two rules … Continue reading

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Hoo Dat Opp Dar?

In the early 1960s, before the United States became deeply involved in the war in Vietnam, Art Hoppe did a series of columns for the San Francisco Chronicle in which he satirized the conflict (in what we would now say … Continue reading

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