Character Thievery

Damn their eyes, these characters!

They say things you didn’t expect, do things you didn’t think of, steal your gosh darn story right out from under you.

Continue reading “Character Thievery”

Getting Past the Past

You’re a writer, you know how it goes. Your job is to tell a compelling story that engages your reader.

Invariably, and inevitably, that story is about the past. You even tell it in the past tense. Like a good joke, you can’t tell it in the future tense: a priest, a rabbi and a duck will go into a bar…

Continue reading “Getting Past the Past”

A New Boss

You’re a writer, you know how it goes. You settle on a project, or maybe two, and you burn the midnight candle until it’s just a smoldering stub, and you tell everybody what your project is and how it’s your end-all-be-all raison d’etre and stuff…

But it isn’t. You fight the words and wrangle them into place. You beat yourself silly trying to find that structure, that style that sets you apart.You work until your mind bleeds to find the description that’s never been made.

But it doesn’t come.

It’s all the same hack.

I know. I’ve been hacking at the same project for, like, ever…

What to do, oh what to do.

Here’s something terrible that I shouldn’t tell you, but maybe you’ll see it.

I invented a producer, my writing boss. I gave her, (she’s a she) the complete and total task of managing my writing.

With Sydney (her name’s Sydney) in charge, I can mentally offload the task of managing my production to her. It sounds crazy, and I’m certain that is, but it has made my writing much easier.

Sydney’s a breeze to work for, because she doesn’t really exist, which means she hardly ever yells at me!

Yes, it’s nice to have a boss in the writing biz, even though, and I know you’ll agree, it’s crazier than a bag of wieners.

Now I just have to figure out to hit her up for a raise!

Get Uber-Rich Overnight by Writing Online

Writing online is tough. Not wrestling with a live python in your underwear tough, or figuring out how a python got in your underwear in the first place tough, but pretty difficult just the same. You write some wonderful, brilliant, exquisite piece that could not possibly be more perfect, you send it off to the publishing site, and you wait. And you wait.

If the site was Associated Content, you knew that a board of editors, or some guy sitting in his pajamas horking down a tuna fish sandwich, or a piece of software that simulated same, scrutinized your work to see if it was worth a nickel in SEO. Son of a cricket, that could take a week! At the end of that agonizing, just-beat-me-in-the­-head-with-a-frozen-pizza wait, you got an offer, maybe $1.06, maybe some amazing amount, like $14.23. Martha, we’re buying a boat!

If the site was Triond, dude, you could be published within, like ten minutes. The money was not an issue – gee, son, those are pretty small wages… it’s okay, Dad. I’m gonna publish a gazillion of ‘em! – but you were right out there in the big old world, and there was always the possibility you, or your work, could go viral.

In those days, which seem like maybe twenty years ago but was in fact just last year – old school is so, like, last week – that was how you did it. But the year went by, the rock-out died, Susie went and left me for some other guy, and writing online got tougher. How can this be, you ask… didn’t Al Gore invent the Internet with a capital I to make life easier?

Scratchin’ for online work, I hooked up with Writers Access, which is pretty cool. Real, live editors look at the stuff they challenge you to write – here, describe a filing cabinet in 150 words, be chatty, professional, and make it sound interesting. Oh, and don’t use the word “filing” – nobody does that anymore – and we’ll toss some shekels into your PayPal. Some of their challenges are quite that – we’d like you to create a web page devoted to offroad motorcycling – and they’ll pay you $50 to do it. I go there every now and again.

But, for the creative soul, the Internet with a capital I should be a place where you can set your work free, just like Free Willy and Butterflies are Free, and Schindler’s List… you get the idea. So you start your own site.


Dude, you need content. So you write your brains out and publish it yourself – yeah, that looks pretty good – and you buy your own URL and get a hosting plan. Here I am!


Maybe, and this is huge maybe to which I am not willing to commit, maybe the days of schlock are over. Maybe you can’t just pen what you want and push it out to the greedy masses who are waiting to devour it, because maybe the masses never really did that in the first place.

Maybe your work has to be good. Maybe it has to be better than good – downright the best work you’ve ever done. And maybe you submit it to legitimate sites, and there are dozens, that pride themselves on publishing excellent, well-wrought work.

Fade out crickets, fade in the sound of thoughtful, interested people that select a very narrow band of input, reading your work and thinking, yes, thinking about it.

Wow. That’s even better than $14.23 upfront.

I think I’m discovering that there is no overnight, get uber-rich uber-quick, slick Willy scheme to make a fortune as a writer. The secret is good work, excellent, hard work.