5 Tools for Breaking Stories

Breaking a story can be a fun exercise in plotting, and it can be a way to experiment with your plot without having to throw out hundreds of pages of written work. In addition, by breaking out a story you can lay out and visually see more concretely your grand vision, and often times it will let you spot potential problems early on.

To actually break a story, there are a lot of tools you can use. Here’s 5. Continue reading “5 Tools for Breaking Stories”


Gooooooooal…s for 2017

Well. MAN it has been a hard month, hasn’t it? But I know I should keep writing, even though that feels like it is the last thing I should be worried about. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these goals (and trying to get caught up on my exam studying), so here they are, laid out for everyone to see. It may be hard, but it’s important to keep creating, even when the world is on fire.

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Hugo Awards – a (Belated) Retrospective

My First World Con

From August 17th to the 21st in my stomping ground of Kansas City, the 74th Worldcon was in town (aka Mid-Americon II, aka the Hugo Awards). My wife and I went to it excited but also uncertain – we’ve been to a local SFF con, but it didn’t have anything on the scale of this. From Tuesday the 16th until the end on August 21st, we basically were running all the time. And then afterwards I stepped right back into a whirlwind at work and have been trying to catch ever since. And I’ve also spent my little bits of down-time trying to think about what, precisely, that con meant to me. Figuring that out has taken some time.

Continue reading “Hugo Awards – a (Belated) Retrospective”

First Draft Fun

This past week I’ve really been getting into gear on my Iron Stars novella. Science fiction, giant robots. It’s my first new project of length in over a year. I actually began it because I’d been reading so many craft articles, I wanted to try some of the techniques I’d been reading about and didn’t want to outline an entire novel. It became small enough to plan relatively quickly (a couple of weeks), but it’s large enough you have to make some of the same structural decisions with a novel. And it is growing – right now we’re about 39k words, but we’re at least more than halfway there

Continue reading “First Draft Fun”

It’s the Final Countdown

Deep. Breath. WHEW.

So if you haven’t been able to tell by my various postings on social media, or the relative quiet on my blog front (Seriously, I missed a pi-day post? My grad school thesis was on pi and transcendental numbers in general), HOLY CRAP THIS MONTH IS BUSY. See, I set a goal for myself: Finish draft 2 of Deveroux and Fitch by the end of this month.

Continue reading “It’s the Final Countdown”

Cold Hard Data

Probably one of my favorite courses to teach was undergraduate statistics. I loved teaching it because you can rave about the big ideas and because it is everywhere. Moreover, I got to stress the importance of good data. People’s memory is deceptive; anecdotal reports tend to exaggerate or distort. But hard data? Well. That’s something I can get behind. That’s why I keep a log of my writing, so it is an indisputable fact. But this year, I decided to take it to 11.

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Labels Suck

Awkward confession: I don’t really like calling myself a writer. At first I thought it was because I didn’t feel like a “real” writer – I wasn’t actively working on projects at the time. By-the-by, that reasoning is bulltshit and you never should believe it. If you write, you’re a writer.

Even when I was working on projects though, that unease still persisted. I’d tell other people I was a writer and they would tell me about their poetry, their short stories, the novel they had planned, or their friend who had an idea for a book, or their Uncle who got published once. It made me uncomfortable because a big chunk of the things they described – these aren’t things that I do.  Continue reading “Labels Suck”