Better First Drafts for Pantsters

The first time I tried to write a novel I got an old notebook and pen and just wrote. I had a vague idea and some characters, plot elements would pop into my head as I wrote and I had a fuzzy idea what I wanted the end to be. I got bogged down and never finished that...

Leave it on the Page (a pep talk)

You’re sitting there in the half-light with a weight crushing your chest. You imagine spirits dancing around in edges in the flickering shadows. Your imagination taunts with things you can’t understand. There is a screen in front of you, maybe it’s blank or maybe...

Shadows Become Me

The ash smudged my skin, a black stain across the pale surface. I twisted leg back and forth, thinking of Cinderella as I sat on the edge of the stone fireplace. The smudge looked like a mark of hard work, of honesty and goodness but I’d only opened the grate...

What we can learn from villains

A few years ago I came across a podcast called Death, Glory or Disappointment, one of the episodes was titled “Be More Villain.” In that episode the show host, Dan Meredith talked about how many of us could learn lessons from villains. I’ve always been...

Write your novel in fewer drafts

One day in my college social psychology class my professor asked the class “How long is the Mississippi river?”  The first student guessed that the river was 600 miles long. He went around the room asking everyone how long the river was and the...