Craft Note: A Dictum for Sheer Fiction

One dictum I coined to keep my writing on track is this: Do things in prose the Hollywood machine cannot reproduce. For me, this means exploring characters, and even objects and other phenomena, from the inside out. It's writing that trades the forward momentum of plot for the deep dive into character or situation. It's…

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Craft Note: Working at Half-Sentence Level

This week I've been busy cutting, honing, and polishing a chapter of Housebreaking the Muse. The editor of a well-regarded literary and arts journal has kindly agreed to have a look, so naturally I want to put my best work forward. The process has once again reminded me of my attitudes about fiction, which are…

Housebreaking the Muse: Major Surgery

309 Days Remaining ... This post reports my recent progress on Housebreaking the Muse and describes some major reworking to the novel's opening section. Several weeks ago, I began to realize the opening section of the novel was just too disjointed. Because of the many narrative entities and the multiple universal planes at work in…

Housebreaking the Muse: Driving to the Finish in 2012

There are deadlines, and there are deadlines. All of us face an ultimate deadline we (sadly or happily, depending on your point of view) cannot foretell. If you stick around long enough, this deadline begins to weigh heavily on your conscience. Wags call this the "mid-life crisis," and I suppose there is a crisis involved.…