“How to” Will Never Create Art

On Writing

“It’s only when a man gets to the point of a gun in his mouth that he can see the whole world inside of his head. Anything else is conjecture, conjecture and bullshit and pamphlets.” Welcome back, Charles Bukowski. The “poet laureate of L.A. low-life” doesn’t pull punches, nor should any writer, or what’s the […]

Why You Shouldn’t Worry about Thinking outside the Box

No one should worry about thinking outside the box. Because THINKING is the box! Worry about that, instead. As fiction writers, we needn’t worry personally about the existential angst that “thinking is the box!” might stir up. But we should concern ourselves with how “thinking” relates to the journeys of our characters. And it goes […]

How (un)Smart Should a Writer Be?

How unSmart 2

If you’ve been reading my deep travel tales, you’ll know how un-smart I am. Count the times I’ve been run down on the road less traveled! I was barely home from my travels in Africa and Asia when the gods pulled a U-turn and made roadkill of me yet again. I was filming in the […]

“The HEART doesn’t show up as a structural element in most fiction formulas” ~ a Tweet

Are you searching heart

The fact that the Heart doesn’t show up in most fiction formulas is meant to alarm writers. One reader must have become alarmed after reading it in my new article: THE HEART OF THE STORY: What Is it, Where Is it, and How Do We Get There? I’m grateful to writer, Rahma Krambo, for Tweeting […]

If You Hate Story Structure

I hate story structure

I was browsing Amazon’s Kindle Store this morning. In the Story Structure Department I noticed a drama unfolding: “Writing by the rules” vs. “Organic writing.” On  one side it’s all structure and story engineering while the other camp is chanting, Don’t get it right, get it written! But hold on a minute. The traditionalists insist […]

How the Best Stories End (Part II)

Beyond Story Structure

How to fulfill an audience? I mean, really fulfill. I think I know what nourishes me. The romantic genre, for example. Boy meets girl – boy loses girl – boy gets girl back. We’re meant to swoon at the “getting back.” And we do, sure, kind of. But honestly, do we consume fiction to see […]

How Good Stories End

The_Two_Faces_of_January_film_poster

[Previously titled: “And Love Has its Way with the World”] I’m not saying that The Two Faces of January is a great movie. But the Viggo Mortensen character serves to show how many good stories end. It goes like this… And love has its way with the world. You don’t hear it, no one says […]

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