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An Exclusive Club

So, I just joined a very exclusive club – one which I never thought anything I wrote would get anywhere near. People, a county in Florida banned more than a thousand books in January of 2024. These included things like Agatha Christie mystries, the ever-vexed “Diary of Anne Frank” (which makes some people VERY uncomfortable…), […]

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He bore his teeth to her.

New Writers Ask: Why is Sentence Structure So Darned Important?

I  often field questions from new writers asking why sentence structure, including grammar and its cousin, syntax, are so important to the craft of writing.  I’m sure many readers are familiar with the old joke that begins with the straight man saying, “I once knew a man with a wooden leg named Smith.” “Really?” says

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Art Imitates Life 2: What Faith Brings to the Table

During interviews I’ve given—both live and digital—interviewers sometimes expressed  interest in how I treated issues of faith in my work, up to and including the Star Wars novels I wrote with the late, truly great Michael Reaves (Patterns of Force, Shadow Games and The Last Jedi.) I’m a Bahá’í, by faith, so my worldview informs

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Art Imitates Life 1: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Faith

After I’d written several Star Wars novels and a short story with the late, wonderful Michael Reaves, I was asked to give a number of interviews. These included radio shows and online interviews on the official Star Wars site and fan sites, as well. Several of the interviewers were interested in the way I treated

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The Mathematics of Writing: One Picture = 1000 Words

One picture is worth a thousand words.  This is a commonly held aphorism. In the life of a writer this is a real-world formula. Often what kicks off the creative process is, if not literally a picture, something equally dense and vivid—one line in a movie or book, documentary, article, or scholarly volume, one paragraph

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New Writers Ask: What is Scene Craft and How Do I Get Some?

“How would you define scene development and what is the key to making it consistently good throughout a novel?” If you’ll recall, this was a question from a client who struggled to understand how to know if a scene was good, bad or meh. Last time I discussed some of the elements of scene craft; 

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New Writers Ask: What is Scene Craft and Why Should I Care?

“How would you define scene development and what is the key to making it consistently good throughout a novel?” This was a question asked of me by a ghostwriting client. Scene craft is something that has become organic enough for me through years of experience that I’ve ceased to think about what goes into it.

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Ghostwriter

Confessions of a Ghostwriter: Recipe for a Hero

A ghostwriting client (hereafter, ”Murphy”) hired me to write a coming-of-age fantasy. He’d written a proposed opening scene in which the reader meets a heroic character Murphy described as a combination of Gandalf the Grey and Obi-Wan Kenobi, both of which were appropriate to the role he was to play in the book—wise mentor to

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Confessions of a Ghost (Writer): Writing Essentials (Rocky 1)

A client for my ghostwriting and editing services—I shall call him Rocky—once asked me what essential things a writer must do to lay the foundations for a writing career. He wasn’t asking about the writing itself, he explained, but about the things that separated those who break in from those who don’t. What and who

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