NaNoWriMo Progress Sheet

NaNoWriMo begins the day after tomorrow. To control my progress, I’ve created a spreadsheet that dynamically recomputes, each day, how many words I need to write in order to stay on track. This is a method I’ve used before, based on principles used to manage software projects. Because software projects have a lot in common […]

A Sneak Peek at the Ardor Point #2 Outline

I’ve been working on-and-off on this outline for over a year and a half now. I could go down the list of excuses and reasons why it took so long. – And it’s still not “finished” yet, but I can’t stand it anymore, so I’ve started on the “zero-draft.” I’d like to share with you […]

Writing Tip: Research the Obvious

Let’s say you’re writing a scene in your story, a scene that takes place in a beauty salon. Now, if you yourself have spent 20 years working in beauty salons, maybe you can write that scene off the top your head. But if you’re like most of us, you have only passing exposure to life […]

Yay! Juvie Fantasies and Major Online Writing Course

As of May 1st, prices are going up on Holly Lisle’s online career-survival course for novelists. Update: I’m just going through the first couple of walkthroughs Holly has so far added to How to Think Sideways. And all I can say is, “Wow!” Two important announcements that Holly Lisle posted on her blog last week: […]

So, How Do YOU Research?

In a famous display of writer’s integrity, guts, and stupidity, Harlan Ellison joined a street gang to research his first novel. Yikes. Talk about writing what you know. Would you be willing to die just so you could write about what’s it’s like to be dead? Not even Deborah Coonts is quite that bold. But […]

The 5 Principles of Story Design: How Storytelling Is Like Mapmaking

Some time ago, I ran across a post on the Society of Cartographer’s email list— What I was doing there, I don’t remember. I’m not a cartographer. I know little about cartography. However, this post enumerated five principles of map design. And it provided insight into other areas and activities, including writing stories. The post […]

Starting a Novel without a Title (but with a Cover)

I usually start a novel with at least a working title. Not this time. However, I am starting with a working cover design. This is in preparation for my next novel-writing month, which is February—FebNoWriMo?—part of my New Year’s resolution to publish 4 original books during the next year. (UPDATE: Obviously, that didn’t happen. Instead, […]

Agile Storytelling

I generally write a story using a process similar to Randy Ingermanson’s “Snowflake” method, but I don’t think of my process as resembling anything like a snowflake. Randy is a physicist, as I understand, so maybe that explains his choice of metaphor. I, on the other hand, come from the sordid world of software development. […]