Back to School Time

I love back to school season. It used to be one day, usually the Tuesday after Labor Day, but now it is a whole season, with local schools now starting as early as early August. 

I love buying school supplies, even as an adult. It inspires me.

This season calls to mind Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail, when he reflects on sending Meg Ryan a “freshly sharpened bouquet of pencils.” 

As a writer, I think I love school supplies because I value the ability to write with pen and paper instead of on a computer.  Being able to purchase insane amounts of pens, pencils, paper and notebooks for less than $5.  This year I bought a folder featuring Star Lord, Rocket, and Groot from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

It’s a great time of year.


Originally posted on Old Sam's Blog:

A question came in following my last post asking how one decides what should be left out of a novel. I thought the answer deserved it’s own post. Here goes, with the full disclaimer that you are reading the thoughts of a writer who has published only one novel and no formal training as a writer.

To begin with, it ain’t easy and I’m sure literary greats would cut my method to pieces. I added the last sentence to illustrate the first of my deletion methods. If I read over my work and find that deleting a sentence doesn’t subtract from the whole, I cut it. BUT! If the sentence foreshadows something that will happen later in the manuscript, Ill leave it or if I’m not sure foreshadowing is necessary, I’ll leave it. Certainty comes in the multiple rewrites that take place as the story unfolds and I might forget…

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It’s SAN DIEGO Comic Con For a Reason…So Please Stay Here!


This week the outlook for San Diego Comic Con staying in San Diego past 2016 became a bit murky. The plan was to use a hotel tax to help pay for the Convention Center expansion.  But that measure was struck down in the appeals courts, and the City Council has no plan to appeal it.  That means that the expansion’s future is up in the air, and without the expansion, San Diego Comic Con’s ability to stay in San Diego may be in jeopardy.

Here in San Diego, there are proposals all over the place for new stadiums for the Chargers, tearing down the iconic San Diego Sports Arena (if you saw the movie Almost Famous, then you know about he Sports Arena; not only that, but that’s where my parents saw Elvis and the Rolling Stones back in the day), and reconfiguring Balboa Park ahead of the 2015 centennial celebration.  The thing most people don’t know about San Diego is that after a tumultuous decade or two of pension crises and irresponsible political doings by politicians with strange agendas, getting major plans together is harder than it should be.

That said, the expansion of the Convention Center makes a lot more sense than building a stadium that is used for a few events each year as opposed to a larger convention center that brings millions of dollars to the city on a regular basis.

It’s also important to note SDCC’s origins in San Diego.  If Los Angeles wants a major con, then make one.  (As long as it isn’t called “comic con” you’re ok…right, Salt Lake City??)  Comic Con should stay in San Diego because it was born here.  It wasn’t until the movie studios came down from LA that the lines got longer and panels filled up to the brim.  Frankly, I think that there is enough interest and enough capacity to have a major con in San Diego, LA, and Las Vegas.  

Would that be a bad thing?  I say no, not at all.

Check out the article from Entertainment Weekly about SDCC:



Cringe-Worthy Writing

Originally posted on The Universe and What I Saw There:

Lately I have been reading through some very old writing of mine, and let’s just say it has been quite an experience. Some of it is just so poorly written, or  so unbearably cheesy that I can do nothing but shudder. It certainly has been very tempting to burn these attempts at writing and just pretend that they never existed in the first place (and I’ll admit, I have done that before)…

But at the same time, there is just something very charming about this awful writing. It has a lot of heart, and some very good ideas, so destroying it – although satisfying – would be a waste. These terrifying manuscripts that make you feel embarrassed to admit that such an assortment of words even crossed your mind are a kind of testimony of where you have been, and how far you have come.

I have therefore decided that…

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You Think Your Writing Sucks? That’s Okay; I Know the Feeling

Originally posted on Sofia Black:

Currently listening to: Die Vampire, Die!, from [title of show]

We all know the feeling. That moment when you think “my writing sucks”. And it might suck, but that’s okay.

I’m having one of those days where all of the sudden, everything I write is terrible. Like, I write a paragraph, glance back at it, and think “What the hell is this crap?”. And it’s not just one particular piece: I’ve worked a little bit on four different WIPs today, and I’ve gotten the same feeling on every single one of them. I literally cannot write anything I’m satisfied with today. My fingers are itching to delete every unsatisfactory word.

But I can’t let myself do that. Why? Because I need to learn how to give myself permission to suck. I’m not the only writer who’s ever felt this way–I know that. Sort of like how I…

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Essential writing skills: how to make words your servants

Originally posted on M J Wright:

Half the battle for writers is making writing their servant – not being a servant to the words. It’s a lesson novice writers usually only discover after they’re about half way through the first book and are finding the words mastering them, not the other way around.

The way books should be sold, cover out (the best way to display them). I wrote this one...

I re-pitched my history of New Zealand for its second edition, altering the tone to bring the writing up to date.

It has to be addressed. And there is, alas, only one way to do that. That’s right – practise. But that shouldn’t be a chore – writing’s fun, right?

Once you’ve made words your servant – and your friend – you can start paying attention to the equally crucial matters of content, tone and style – together, what we might call ‘voice’. This isn’t something that just happens; it can be directed and controlled, just like any other aspect of writing. Take George…

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Writing an Ensemble

Originally posted on no word counts:

With the success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, I’ve been thinking a lot about ensembles in stories. Most of the things I write tend to feature a fairly large group of characters at its core, so it was great to watch a movie that did an ensemble right.

Stories are all about character, and that’s Guardians secret. Every online reaction I’ve seen focuses on how much they loved Groot, or how great Rocket is, or how surprisingly great Drax is, etc. It isn’t, “Oh, the explosions were so well-rendered. A+”

If stories are all about characters, stories with ensembles are one of the most satisfying types when they’re done correctly. Because they don’t just give you one or two characters to love — they give you a whole group of them. Teams, crews, posses, miscellaneous rogues in a loose collective. . . Ensembles provide a smorgasbord of characters.

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