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Yeah, you. The one in the corner at Starbuck’s nursing a venti latte and surfing the net instead of banging out the next scene of your novel. The one who just knows there’s a story in you clamoring to be told but you don’t know the mechanics of fiction writing and you’re sure those would help. The person with a half-manuscript hiding in your lingerie drawer because you’re ashamed you never found a way to finish it.

The would-be writer. The wanna-be writer. The writer who really is a writer and just wants someone to talk to about the process, someone who understands what it means when you say your main character refuses to do what the plot demands that she do. (I do understand. I had a character who had to be murdered and she just wouldn’t die. So I wrote a “cheating prologue” and let her live as long as she wanted to because the cheating prologue told the reader she was going to get dead eventually, so be patient.

See, you understand what I just said. It makes sense to you. If it doesn’t, don’t worry. Maybe someday it will. If it never does, then you may have to face a hard fact: you do not have a fiction mind.

Hmmmm, should I change the name of this blog to Fiction Mind?

I’m writing this blog because there are no blogs out there about creative writing. No place for the writer to turn to help with writing blocks, snags, crunch points.

Yeah, sure. Pop “creative writing” in your browser and stand back for the deluge. So why read mine instead of or even in addition to all the others out there?

I’m writing it because no one else has my unique insights into the craft of fiction.

Closer to the truth, if arrogant. Because who blogs with the view that they’re going to regurgitate stuff that’s already out there? Who doesn’t believe they have a unique perspective that the rest of the world is dying to access? Why am I going to be any different? I have something to say and the blog is a convenient, current way to say it.

So, yes, come along for this ride and you will be treated—or subjected—to my thought processes on how fiction works, why it works when it works and why it doesn’t when it doesn’t.

Who am I that anyone would care? I’ve written a few books and short stories and I’ve taught creative writing in a wide variety of venues for about thirty years, a number that shocks me, too. I started in mystery fiction, but my taste is eclectic and I’ve helped many writers in many genres over the years to hone their craft and realize their dreams of finishing a novel.

Thirty years of teaching fiction writing have not jaded me. I still get a thrill when a new student comes into a class with a germ of an idea that he loves and has hopes for. I get excited when a student with a published book wins an award and then (as just happened) gets the rave review of a lifetime. I want to bring out the best in my writers, to help them realize their visions. To this end, I read and watch like a writer.

In this blog, I’ll talk about what I’m reading, what I’m watching on TV or in movies, and what is happening among my various writing students. As I write, I’ll begin to notice patterns and I’ll organize the blog according to writing problems or writing elements, so that a searcher can find thoughts on, say, character development or subplots.

Writing is problem solving. Every novel presents problems to be solved and writers who have gone before have faced the same problems and solved them. I’ll talk about how they did that and maybe you who are working on fiction now can learn from their decisions.

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Happy blogging!

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