Archive for the 'CRAFT' Category

Irony — The Final Cliché

Next week I’ll be moderating a panel at Left Coast Crime in Portland titled, “The Taste of Copper, the Smell of Cordite: Clichés in Crime Fiction.” This topic in one form or another crops up just about every year, making the panel itself a kind of cliché. I’ve heard Martyn Waite deride the jazz-loving detective, […]

Let’s Talk About Me

“Let’s talk about me!” Generally speaking, that’s not good advice for handling yourself in social situations.  Better is to listen and ask questions.  Being interested in others is the way to make friends and influence people.  (Smile too.  That helps.) In bonding readers to characters on the page, though, the reverse is true.  We open […]

Musings on Genres, Shame, and Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I don’t tell my ‘academic’ colleagues that I write fiction. I don’t talk much about my non-fiction writing to my fiction-writing community. I LOVE e-readers because they don’t reveal whether I’m reading a steamy romance, popular history, angst-ridden literary novel, nineteenth-century article on hospitals, or an idiot’s guide to something technical that even my nine-year-old […]

The Science of Creating Authentic Characters

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Meg Rosoff (one of our contributors here at Writer Unboxed) in Salem at the un-con. I was intrigued by her discussion about hot and cold spots in the brain, the emotional poignancy that resides in those zones, and how to access them. Throughness, she called it; an opening […]

The Sundance Kid

Last month I went to the Sundance Film Festival for the first time ever because, against all odds, I had a film premiering there. The film is a documentary called Misery Loves Comedy, and it basically asks the question, “Do you have to be effed up to do stand-up, or does doing stand-up eff you […]

The Shiny Everything and The Long Game

After reading Therese and Porter’s posts on the digital world and its effects on our thinking and productivity, I’ve been thinking a lot on the subject. How does all of this affect my life, my creativity? Confession: despite my reputation as a flighty Gemini, I am not a multitasker. It’s precisely because of my scatteredness […]

Tying Character Types to Plot, Suspense, and Emotion

Our guest today is Jeanne Cavelos, creator of the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to helping developing writers of fantastic fiction improve their work. A writer, editor, scientist, and teacher, Jeanne began her professional life as an astrophysicist, working in the Astronaut Training Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, but […]

Surviving a Drought

I was sitting in D.C.’s Lincoln Theater about three months ago, listening to The Milk Carton Kids and Sarah Jarosz, talented folk musicians who sing some of the most gorgeous harmonies I’ve ever heard. The theater itself is a visual concert—a beautiful 1920’s-era building, with gold ceilings and crystal chandeliers and lovely arched moldings and […]

Learning to Love your Fanatic

      “The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”  C. S. Lewis. Fanatics make terrific villains, whether it’s an animal activist […]

Navy Commander Rick Campbell Makes Waves by Penning Military Thrillers

Unboxeders, I hope you’ll join me today in welcoming retired Navy Commander Rick Campbell to Writer Unboxed for a brief interview about his writing. For more than twenty-five years, as we slept on pillow-topped queen-sized mattresses, he claimed a rack aboard one of four nuclear submarines, working to keep us safe. On his last submarine, […]

The Itchy Reader

My daughter had a terrible first grade year. From October through June she cried, every morning and night, about going to school. She had stomachaches. She told me she wanted stay in bed and never go to school again. She clung to me in the hallway when I tried to nudge her into the classroom. When the teacher […]

Story Lessons from South Park

Wait, what? Yes, I’m serious. My post today is about the storytelling lessons we can learn from possibly the most tasteless and offensive TV show of all time: South Park. Full disclosure: I haven’t actually watched an episode of South Park in quite a long time. But I’ve seen many episodes over the years, and I […]