You are browsing Writing

The Monday Street First Act Character Map


I’ve talked before about character maps. They seem like a complete waste of time–my McDaniel students are never enthusiastic when I assigned them–but they’re the best way I know to see the relationships between and among the characters. Toni and I have added enough characters to the first act of the story that by now that we need a map. Here are the relationships in the first act:


The Birth of Whatsit


Sometimes people ask, “How do you think up these things?” I always say, “Thinking has nothing to do with it.” At least not in the logical-planning-train-of-thought kind of way. Another good thing about collaborating with somebody is when you’re done discovering a character, you have the e-mails to show you how you did it. So here’s how Whatsit came out of the nowhere and into the here, done entirely in e-mails (although this stuff was embedded in emails about other things, so this was background noise most of the day):


The Crypt Problem


So we’re blocking out scenes, and I realize I have the wrong goal for Cat. I know it’s the wrong goal because she doesn’t give a damn about it. Scratch heat for the winter. read more >>

Filed in Writing | Comments (120)

Discovery Drafting


Every time I write a book, I have to learn how to do it all over again. I panic every damn time. One of the hardest things to remember is that I don’t really know what the book is about until I start writing. That is, my first (and second and third and fourth and . . ) draft is a discovery draft. I don’t know what I’m writing about until I see what I say. read more >>

Questionable: How Do You Make a Collaboration Work?


Kate wrote:

Here’s my question: How do you find other authors to write with. I’ve tried one joint project, but two out of four of us quit after our second session. They cited other commitments, but who really knows.

Obviously they need to be writers/people you trust. And I’m selfish, I want them to be better writers than I am so I can learn from them.

Do you have to find writers that write in the same style? The same tone? How exactly does this magic work?


Filed in Writing | Comments (20)