Archive for the 'Inspirations' Category

What Media Do You Study for Storytelling?

photo by Francois de Halleux

Every year or so, I re-read Stephen King’s The Stand and Bag of Bones. King may not be master wordsmith or inspiration by your reckoning, but he is by mine. I love those books.

I don’t read these novels for enjoyment anymore, however; I read them to study King’s storytelling. King’s earthy writing style, memorable characters and pacing deeply resonate with me. Whenever I revisit those books, I’m reminded of why I love them […]

Be Like Ludwig

I make this same face when someone interrupts my writing or when I am not getting enough fiber in my diet.

A few weeks ago, a friend was talking about a Leonard Bernstein Omnibus lecture, the one in which Bernstein discusses the power and beauty of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Three Gs and an E flat. Bah Bah Bah BAAAH. Bah bah bah BAAAH.

Bernstein sits down at a piano and plays those four notes, explaining that while they are the theme around which Beethoven […]

Even More New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

Two years ago I posted a set of New Year’s resolutions for writers, which was well enough received that I posted another set of resolutions the following December. This holiday season, since I’m all about tradition (as opposed to being all about that bass), I’ve assembled several more resolutions for writers to consider as the new year approaches.

Some of the resolutions I’m proposing might initially seem to be in conflict with each other, but if you read on, I think […]

Literary Hypochondria

It is daunting to be an unpublished writer amidst the stellar cast of this blog site’s regular contributors. It is even more so when in their actual presence. At the UnConference in Salem I recently had the pleasure of meeting a number of the regular blog contributors, and of hearing their insight, wisdom, and practical guidance for writing good fiction. Each of the sessions was valuable, each had a takeaway, each was enjoyable, and each was top notch. And yet, […]

What’s Your Purpose?

(GIVEAWAY – GIVEAWAY- GIVEAWAY! In honor of the release of POOLE’S PARADISE, my generous benefactors at Bafflegab Books are awarding free e-copies of the novel (specify .pdf or .prc) to the first five people who correctly answer the following question: What do the words FACETIOUSLY and ABSTEMIOUSLY have in common? (Hint: the word MYUOPILEA has exactly the opposite quality.) Email your answer to john.vorhaus – at – HURRY! I mean HURRAH!)

So, yeah, my new novel comes out this week, […]

Becoming a Better Writer in 2015

My friend and I always spend a weekend in December creating vision boards for the new year. This is not like making New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a

Written Words by Sophia Louise

process that requires a lot of time and thought. We ask ourselves what this year has brought and how that feels, and what we’d like to see the new year hold. Then we make boards that hold our intentions, with photos and words (she uses more words, I use […]

High School: The Tattoos Your Characters Can’t Conceal

This guy was in the Hillbilly group in my high school

Kurt Vonnegut once said, “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” Alas, in looking at the short-sighted, petty gyrations of our politicians, “terror” doesn’t quite capture the dystopian menace. But I want to use Mr. Vonnegut’s subtext here to illustrate some thoughts about characters in your stories.

High school was a yeasty time: a time of turbulent […]

The Point of Writing

Flickr Creative Commons: Jason Eppink

There’s a lot of talk these days about getting yourself a presence on social media, upping your profile, selling yourself, marketing your work, using every angle and every connection in order to “get out there,” hustle your product, hit the bestseller lists, make a splash.

This post is just to remind you that none of this is what writing is about.

Writing is about finding out who you are, what you have to say that is not […]

Lessons from the UnCon: I Surrender. I’m Finally Ready to Be Naked

Method Writing (and Eating) with Brunonia Barry at the Witch’s Brew Cafe–photography credit Mike Swift

If you attended the inaugural UnCon in Salem, this post is an attempt to recreate a bit of its inherent magic. If you couldn’t attend, this is one explanation of why you’ll read reviews like this paraphrased quote: “What have you people done to me? I’m forever changed and so is my writing.” 

Several decades ago, an excessively young, naïve, and nervous version of myself began […]

Your NaNoWriMo Road Map

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.

Happy National Novel Writing Month! At this stage of the process, you may feel like you’re sinking in a morass of flat characters and plot holes. This is completely natural. Lucky for you, I’m here to guide you the rest of the way with a daily regimen that will keep you on […]

Pantaphobia: THAT’S IT!

Robin LaFevers writes: One of the hardest things about being a writer can be the sense of isolation we experience–the sense that we are the only ones to feel a certain way. Especially when those feelings are not happy or joyful ones. That’s why fellow writers’ honesty is such a gift. Today I am honored to share with you such a gift–a guest post by YA author Myra McEntire. It is a raw, honest look at some of the hardships […]

On Not Giving Up

This week, my new adult novel, first in a big new series called Trinity, is coming out.

I’m going to be celebrating even more than usual, because this one’s had a long hard road to publication, with nearly four years and several rejections before it was accepted. Even though I’m a well-established author with many books to my name, it looked like this one was fated to remain homeless. ‘Too different’ seemed to be the verdict. A mix of urban fantasy, […]