Your Brain on Words

One of my favorite podcasts is the consistently brilliant Brain Science Podcast hosted by Ginger Campbell. She interviews loads of fascinating brain-science researchers and writers, and somehow manages to keep a nice balance between complex science and plain-speak. It’s a cool podcast if you’re curious about how our minds process the universe and why we do the[…]

Sentence-level switchbacks and conflict

Accomplished writers know that to write a great story, you need characters with internal conflicts that motivate them in a plot full of external conflicts. But something less often talked about is how to put conflict into language itself. Turning sentences or paragraphs on themselves with internal contradictions is what gives the writing life and[…]

Beautiful things

OK, I admit it, I’m addicted to quotes about books and writing and art. When I’m supposed to be taking a break from the computer, perhaps to go drink a tea at the window and let my eyes see the Outside World instead of just pixels, I usually come-to after about fifteen minutes and realize[…]

Kurt Vonnegut taking care of the audience

I just had the best evening drinking wine and eating licorice while reading Cat’s Cradle. Kurt Vonnegut is damned fine company (I’m gonna refer to him in the present tense because being a great author makes you immortal). The way he takes care of his audience is what makes reading every sentence he writes such a[…]

Editing techniques: How to streamline your writing

Writing “in the moment” without pausing to review is a perfect way to create, because you don’t want the critical half of your brain self-consciously poking at the less-inhibited, imaginative half while it’s doing its thing. However, a side effect of completely freewheeling story-creation is that your imagination will zoom in and out on the[…]

Shiny Things

Sorry for the hiatus. I accidentally found myself in Turkey, scrambling around ancient ruins and swimming in warm turquoise waters. It was terrible. (Not really). But now I am back and drafting plenty of upcoming SFF and storytelling-related articles. In the meantime, here is the first of a new series of posts I call Shiny[…]

Attack of the Grammar-Monsters

Copyeditors are not all evil grammar-monsters who spend their days hunting for typos just so they can terrify anyone who knows less about writing mechanics than they do. Good copyeditors know that context matters, and they know the difference between an author who is purposely bending or breaking sentence structure for fun and one who[…]