Category Archives: Creative Writing

Articles, projects, theories, and processes.

If your book isn’t good enough, you aren’t close enough

“If your picture isn’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”

Robert Capa, War Photographer

Get what he means?

Can you see him with his camera in hand edging closer to the exploding bombs and spurting machine guns? Can you see him get close to the victims and their suffering and sorrow? Can you see him get close to the ones being responsible?

Now apply that to your book project.

Are you close enough to the characters? The pain, anger, pleasure, fear? Are you daring to go close enough to yourself?

The But/Therefore Technique of Plotting

Find boring scenes that may not belong in the story by listing the beats (scenes, maybe in some cases chapters) of the story, and if you can put a “but” or a “therefore” between two of these beats, you’re good to go.

If on the other hand you have to put an “and then” between them, you’re in trouble and likely creating a story that isn’t entirely glued together and as cohesive as it could/should be.

World Building Snafu

I’m spending a couple of hours creating a song I’m thinking might be sung in the story somewhere. It’s really nice, and I even have a translation. Just a few verses but enough to get the job done (after all, I’m not writing a songbook!)

Then I take a step back and realize a problem: the thing is written in the wrong language! These people wouldn’t sing in this language!

Oh, snap!

Fortunately, with the pretty nice translation, and the fact that if I haven’t used the word before, I can bend and twist it to my liking (and my grammar rules will bend and twist right back… yeah yeah…) it wasn’t that hard to make a new “translation”.

Yay for effective writing! (Ok! Ok! But I am having fun! That’s gotta count for something! Right?)

Time Merchant

I decided to spend my retirement in ancient Rome, but I made the huge mistake of bringing a tube of mayonnaise. Now everyone wants snake-shaped aioli and I have to shuttle back and forth between antiquity and modern times like some kind of damned time merchant! The only thing worse would be if they figured out I wasn’t from Atlantis, but the future. God only knows what kind of unrefusable offers they would force upon me then!