The Plain Text Rebellion

Let me tell you a story.

When I was in high school, I remember when typewriters became computers and document processing a la touch typing became the darling-do.

Yes, I dated myself there. Cope and deal. I did a long time ago, you whipper-snappers. It could be worse: I could have regaled you with the brief fascination with daisy-wheels. We had 52 letters, 10 digits and a smattering of symbols. Tab-stops and the black-red ribbon were a goram innovation! I also remember cursively writing my middle-school creative writing assignments.

Why are you staring at me? I did it again. Damn.

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On Heroes and Villains

When I was in Grade Ten, I performed in a one act play. I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it was called. Checks Google. It was called ‘He Done Her Wrong‘ by Anita Bell. Thank you, Google. All hail.

Anyway, it was a melodrama full of all the classic tropes. I played a villain called Fleetwood Dashaway. Complete with tophat, cape and twirly moustashe. He was a very fun character to play, equally shallow and cardboardy as the rest of the cast. It worked because of its nostalgic approach to vaudeville theater.

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Plot, Premise and Story

We’ve all been there: staring at the screen or notebook wondering how to write the middle of your story. You’ve built a wonderful world and crafted some deep characters. You might even have done a great job at setting the stage and have a great idea on where you want to end up. You’ve written down a few scenes and they are glorious. But still the flashing cursor looms.

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Momentum: Killer of Blogs

Have you ever had to push a car? It’s not a lot of fun, but it is possible. But you have to make sure that the person inside the car, the person responsible for steering doesn’t do something stupid. Like hit the breaks. That’s what happens when you stop blogging. It is the end of momentum. And in a lot of ways, momentum is your best, and possibly only, friend. (more…)

Does TV Rot the Writer’s Brain?

Image by zero-.

Hello, fellow quill-bearers! For your mind-bending pleasure, here is another open-ended dilly of a question:

We’re often told that to be great writers, we must read voraciously. Does the same hold true for television and film? Are there different writing lessons to be learned from watching sitcoms, dramas, and their ilk? What magical insights of word-craft mastery, if any, have you gleaned from the proverbial ‘idiot box’, ‘idiot’s lantern’ and ‘boob tube’? (more…)

Romance Versus Erotica

Oh, this is going to be fun! A couple of months ago I wrote ‘The (Not So) Definitive Guide to Romance Novels‘ for Reader’s Carnival . It got me to thinking (I know, a dangerous thing):

What is the difference between a romance novel, erotica and outright porn? Is it simply age group boundaries? Explicitness versus love? Where are the boundaries? Has this changed over time? Putting quality aside, what separates Danielle Steel from E.L. James? (more…)

Writing Software and Tools

Writers, like many artisans, love to talk about the tools and techniques of their trade. Honing and tweaking their systems becomes a near-obsession in itself.

I asked a number of writers their opinions on what they use and received no shortage of information. The tools used roughly fall into three buckets, reflecting the larger workflow process from mind-to-notes-to-draft-to-refine: (more…)