Tag Archive - advice for writers

My Charlie Brown/Snoopy Theory of Artistic Success!

My good friends know that I’m a major, long-time fan of Charles M. Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip. It’s funny, touching, and brilliant — one of those truly rare artistic projects that was both wildly popular and a critical success. (Full disclosure: the strip had its hey-day from about 1959 until about 1978. After that, it […]

Why Are So Many Gay Teen Stories About a Geek in Love with a Closeted Jock?

So it’s worth asking: why are so many gay teen stories about a geek-ish guy (usually the main character) in love with a popular jock (who happens to be very closeted)? From Beautiful Thing to Get Real to Dreamboy to The Perks of Being a Wallflower to many other books, movies, and TV shows, this has […]

Advice for Writers: Are You a Cable Channel or a Broadcast Network?

I’ve written before how I sometimes classify books and movies in one of two ways: as “broccoli” (it’s good for you) or “dessert” (it’s fun to consume). The very best writing, I think, is both broccoli and dessert. There’s also a way that I sometimes classify authors of books: as either a “broadcast network” or […]

Writers of Fiction Are Batsh*t Crazy!

Writers of fiction are crazy. If you’re a writer yourself, I’m sure you’ve read the depressing statistics: Well over 95% of all completed novels are never published by a traditional publisher. Well over 99% of all screenplays registered with the Writers Guild are never produced or even optioned. In fact, you have a much greater […]

I Hate Writing (But I Love Having Written!)

For me, writing is hell. Take a typical week. If I start early on a Monday morning, I almost never get anything written until about 4 PM. And truthfully, I won’t really get much of quality done until maybe Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday, it’s usually starting to flow. And by Thursday, it’s a gusher. I […]

Two New Interviews: On Career and Craft

Whenever I’m asked to do an interview, I always think, “What, little ol’ me? Why I do declare, I don’t have anything to say!” Then I open my mouth, and I end up jabbering on forever. Anyway, here are two new interviews for those who haven’t already had way too much of my jabbering: This […]

Annie Wilkes Makes a Good Point: A Lot of Writers Don’t Play Fair

A reader, responding to a note of mine that I’m working on two more sequels in the Russel Middlebrook series, posted this hilarious clip from the old movie Misery (about an insane woman who kidnaps a writer and forces him to write the book she wants). As chance would have it, I’m literally halfway through […]

Why Do So Many Books and Movies Suck? An Explanation

I just read a book by a famous writer, and I thought, “If this book hadn’t been written by this person, it never would’ve been published. Not in a million years.” And that got me thinking: why are so many books and movies so mediocre — or outright bad? First, let’s stipulate that good books […]

There Is No Such Thing as a “Voice” of a Generation

With the debut of the new HBO series Girls, I’m hearing a lot of talk about how Lena Dunham is supposedly the “voice” of her gender or her generation (she even jokes about it ironically in the series). It’s funny: I’ve been hearing this all my life, how this writer or that is the “voice” […]

I’m NOT Jealous of John Green! I’m NOT Jealous of John Green! (Some Thoughts on Being Jealous of Other Authors)

Okay, so today, for the first time ever, I found myself feeling a tinge of jealousy regarding YA superstar John Green. It’s not that his latest book, The Fault in Our Stars, has been number one on the New York Times Bestseller list for — what? — six weeks now? It’s that he has yet […]