Short Verse – “The Cold Man”

I found this in an old notebook. It’s at least 12 years old, if not older: The Cold Man At the bottom of the sea, he sits Bubbles rising; crystal prints of amorphous spheres Disappearing into the black above. Below? Who knows? He hasn’t swam that far. Yet. Tomorrow? Maybe yes. Maybe no. He might […]


While I’m a supporter of National Pride and I think it’s a sentiment that is often ignorantly cast aside in favor of popular (or at least more vocal) opinion, I still have little interest in the Winter Olympics. On display are disciplined athletes performing at a higher level than most could ever hope to achieve, […]

Is “Bad” Writing Required For Massive Bestsellers?

“Bad” is in quotes because what makes something good or bad boils down to personal taste. For example, I loved the movie Deep Rising, yet the awesome B-movie adventure probably fell way short of what constitutes a “good” movie for most viewers. But what about books? I would like to take a few minutes to […]

Screenplay vs. Novel

Writing a novel is much different than writing a screenplay. With a book, you have to actually describe the world for the reader, inserting crucial details along the way to create a sense of place; this makes it easier to imagine the world your characters inhabit. A screenplay allows you to breeze over all that […]

There Are Two Types of People

There are two types of people in this world (I’ll explain them in a bit). I will illustrate the difference between them by discussing how they react to a very particular ending to a specific kind of story. In this type of story, the big question of the entire book/movie/tale hinges on the sanity of […]

Beyond the Veil

Yesterday I finished reading my first story by Robert E. Howard. He’s the guy who created Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane, among many other memorable characters. The story I read was called People of the Black Circle, a pulpy action yarn wherein much blood is spilled. I was surprised by the (unfortunate) era-appropriate sexism […]

Raymond Chandler on the Detective Archetype

“In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, […]

Nightmare Poem

Here’s something NOT to read your kid before bedtime. I found this in one of my old journals…must have had some bad dreams recently. Nightmare Poem Now I lay me down to dream I pray to God I do not scream For when the monsters come to eat I will have safely tucked my feet […]

Write Better Dialogue

A big complaint I’ve seen in the reviews for a lot of books is that the dialogue seems unrealistic (for any number of reasons) and therefore takes away from the pleasure of reading the story. I remember having this same thought years ago when I actually had the time to consume mass market paperbacks by […]

Short Story Manuscript Format

Great visual aid for when you are preparing your story for submission to online magazines or agents. It probably translates to novel-length manuscripts as well, so I thought I would post this little gem I just stumbled across.