The First Thirty Thousand Words

At my core, I’m a short story writer, a factor that has been both a blessing and a curse as I set out to write a full-length novel. At the 30,000-word mark, just over one-quarter of the way to my goal, it hit me that I was attempting something new.

The Birthday Resolutions Achieve Excellence

Back in college, I read a lot of books by dead, old, Greek guys and I was surprised by how much their search for knowledge and meaning struck a chord with me. Aristotle in particular wrote that the highest achievement a human can reach is arête. This word is often translated as “excellence” or “moralContinue reading “The Birthday Resolutions Achieve Excellence”

The First Ten Thousand Words

This year, I committed to writing a novel. This week, I crossed the ten thousand word mark. After months of working on my premise, dreaming about the plot, and writing dialogue in my head, it’s starting to feel real. So, I thought I would share how I’m feeling at various stages of the process. TheContinue reading “The First Ten Thousand Words”

The Birthday Resolutions Ride Again

Resolutions are funny things. Every year, I make myself a series of promises and every year, I break most of those promises. And yet, I keep making resolutions on my birthday, because while I’m not good at fulfilling them, I still find value in the tradition — in aspiring to do better and be betterContinue reading “The Birthday Resolutions Ride Again”

Wired for Story

I don’t know about you, but I’m always writing stories in my head. A snippet of interesting conversation, an observation on the street, a song on the radio — my brain will wheel off on a creative tangent. I hear dialogue in restaurants. I imagine plot twists on my drive to and from the office.Continue reading “Wired for Story”

Permission to Write Something That Sucks

It’s been one month since I’ve looked at my novel draft. Despite setting myself a lofty goal of completing a first draft by the end of the year, I stalled out. As much as I would like (and have tried) to blame my characters or my word count goals or the ergonomics of my keyboard,Continue reading “Permission to Write Something That Sucks”

Lies, Damn Lies and Fiction

Two years ago, I read a short story I had written called “The Cannibals of Kitsap.” The story follows a boy who develops an eating disorder after his father loses his job. After the reading, a woman walked up to ask me how the story ended. “Did your father find another job after that,” sheContinue reading “Lies, Damn Lies and Fiction”

New Short Story: “How to Steal Copper Wire”

A few years ago, a news article caught my attention. An epidemic was sweeping the nation — copper wire theft. People were stealing wire from streetlights and utilities and many of them were getting killed by electrocution in the process. I remember thinking it was a strange kind of crime. Not long after, I sawContinue reading “New Short Story: “How to Steal Copper Wire””

Wiseguys with Fedoras in the Shadows: Why I Love Telling Noir Stories

I’ve always loved a good crime drama. When I was in high school, I was obsessed with the film noir classics — Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, D.O.A., Dark Passage. There is something about the tense atmosphere and moral ambiguity of the genre that fascinates me. A sense of doom permeated those films, especially theContinue reading “Wiseguys with Fedoras in the Shadows: Why I Love Telling Noir Stories”

The Magic of Deadlines

I have heard rumors in my travels of creative people who are entirely self-motivated. They get up early, awakened by an innate drive to create, go to their computers, ignore Facebook and Google, and complete their work in a timely manner with no exterior motivator. I am not one of those people. I’m not evenContinue reading “The Magic of Deadlines”