Adding Necessary Grime

Watching movies from the early days of cinema, one thing that is often clear: They were frequently filmed on studio sets, which were obviously sets because even a dirty back alley was often cleaner than the average teenager’s bedroom. It wasn’t until the 1970s that on location filming became more common and even studio sets began to be dressed to look like the disorganized, grimy, … Continue reading Adding Necessary Grime

Have Some Character

So you’ve decided you want to write a novel and you’ve picked your genre, remembering that it’s OK (even encouraged) to blend genres a little. Now it’s time to talk about the people who you will be writing about for the next 300-ish pages. The Third Thing: Characters Remember that story about that person who did that thing in that place? They were so something, … Continue reading Have Some Character

So You Want to Write a Book

I can hear you now, reviled dear reader: “I went to John Hodgman’s book signing in Washington DC last month and heard him gently mock a listener who insisted that he wanted to write a novel… so that he could say he had written a novel. What am I supposed to write about?” Ah. That grand question. As I recall, it was even the topic … Continue reading So You Want to Write a Book

Revise that Story

After many days, weeks, even months, you’ve finally reached the end of your story. You have a first draft. Congratulations! Your work is just beginning. If writing is like archaeology, then finishing your first draft is the physical labor of digging up an ancient site. You find a site to dig at (get an idea), hire the best people to crew the dig (figure out your characters), and spend … Continue reading Revise that Story