Skip to content

Category Archives: writing

For You Dissatisfied

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone had told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has […]

The Tea and Muffins School of Writing

IF: Would you say there are any basic differences between the English and the American thriller? RC: Oh yes. An American thriller is much faster paced. IF: We’ve got into a rather ‘tea and muffins’ school of writing here, I think. Policemen are much too nice and always drinking cups of tea, and inspectors puff […]

The Universe Will Supply Obstacles

My freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit. —Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of […]

Characterized Through Stereoscopy

I often start by imagining the character as a physical and psychological object, and then imagining how that object appears to other people in the drama, including me. Then I start adding detail to justify or confound those assumptions. Then I go deeper, to see if I can discover an interior landscape that challenges the […]

A Few Tenets of Writing Via Vonnegut

1. Find a subject you care about. 2. Do not ramble, though. 3. Keep it simple. 4. Have the guts to cut. 5. Sound like yourself. 6. Say what you mean to say. 7. Pity the readers. —Kurt Vonnegut, quoted in Science Fictionisms Things to keep in mind until you no longer need to keep […]

Close As My Brother Bernard

For what it is worth: It now seems morally important to me to do without minor characters in a story. Any character who appears, however briefly, deserves to have his or her life story fully respected and told. —Kurt Vonnegut, in a letter to Mark Lindquist

On the Subject of Retaining Ideas

So this post by Warren Ellis (who is a comics et al writer I enjoy very much, both for his stories and his howling pursuit of the future) about a writer’s equipment started me thinking about my own kit, and what tools I could try. This is a rambling post about minutiae, and will bore […]