Describing Dogs

I’ve been rereading [1] Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens in advance of the mini-series dropping on Amazon Prime, and I ran across a wonderful bit of description, which I’ll share in just a bit. Description has always been a challenge for me. I’m strong on dialog—that probably comes from my theatre background—and I […]

Three Rules for Driving in the Desert

Over Thanksgiving, I treated myself to a white-knuckle drive through the Mojave because I got complacent and didn’t follow the rules for driving in the desert: have a map, fill your tank and bring water. More succinctly: don’t get lost, don’t get stuck and don’t die. Even more succinctly: be prepared. [1] Now, I enjoy […]

Resource management

Over on her Blog of Doom, my Stonecoast friend and classmate Shawna Borman was sharing her time management strategy and asking for others to share theirs. The comment I was going to leave got a little long, so I’m posting it here: Time Management I find time management relatively easy. I’ve set myself the goal […]


I’ve been experimenting recently with a technique I call “meta-writing,” by which I mean shifting to another level of writing while I continue to write in order to break through logjams, overcome resistance and maintain momentum. (I specifically don’t mean the sort of pre-writing, or para-writing, of notes, outlines, character bios and so on.) When […]

Year(s) in Review

Towards the end of 2017, I was feeling pretty discouraged about how my writing was progressing. My first novel continued to not sell. My second novel continued to not write itself (yeah, I know—I thought about it a lot but didn’t spend much time at the keyboard). My biggest frustration, though, was a non-fiction project […]


One of the things I love most about NaNoWriMo is the combination of the minimum word count and the finite duration: 50,000 words in 30 days. I know exactly what I have to do and how long I have to do it. Everything else is subordinated to that goal. You’ve seen the graphic: fast, good, […]

Word count hacks for NaNoWriMo

There’s so much enthusiasm that comes with starting a new novel from scratch. For me, NaNoWriMo always begins like the perfect first day of a trek: the weather is beautiful, the terrain is level, and the miles fly by. At the end of the day, I’ve got a selection of delicious food and a clean […]