How Ronald D. Moore Used Star Trek to Build a Better Battlestar Galactica

So I’ve been binge-watching Deep Space 9, and the funny thing is that some pretty familiar tropes from Battlestar Galactica sprout up during the last two seasons. It’s my first time rewatching DS9 since BSG, and the parallels make me very happy. Why? Ronald D. Moore experiments with story threads, characters, and techniques in DS9Continue reading “How Ronald D. Moore Used Star Trek to Build a Better Battlestar Galactica”

8 Ways to Beat the Block

Okay, I’ll come clean–I don’t believe in writer’s block. In my fifteen years as a writing tutor, I’ve worked with thousands of student writers, and in my experience, writer’s block is always a sign that one of two things is happening: You’re working on the wrong project. You’re working on the right project but withContinue reading “8 Ways to Beat the Block”

Why I Attended the DIY Academy of Art Instead of an MFA

Becoming an artist can be expensive. If you go for an MFA, that can easily be upwards of $30,000. If you attend a private conservatory, like Cornish College of the Arts, it can cost you more than $36,000 a year. Just for undergraduate tuition alone. And after you graduate, chances are bleak that you willContinue reading “Why I Attended the DIY Academy of Art Instead of an MFA”

Trouble Finding Your Voice? Try Memoir

I used to have a lot of questions, like “When should I add in detail, and how much detail is too much?” And “How can I know when to use free indirect discourse?” My writing teachers didn’t have good answers to these questions and neither did the writing textbooks I came across. But then, atContinue reading “Trouble Finding Your Voice? Try Memoir”

Perfectionism, The God of Destruction

I never understood before. As a writer, I’ve always been comfortable with drafting and revising and getting shit down on the page, trusting that with a lot of hard work and a fairy sprinkle of luck, it may become worthwhile. So when students and fellow writers came to me and said, “But I have toContinue reading “Perfectionism, The God of Destruction”

The Power of Patience

So you’ve got a scene that just isn’t working. You tinker and hammer and outline and cluster, but it’s still a clusterfuck. I say you can either go ahead and write something you know isn’t any good, or you can let it simmer on the back burner for a few days. The trick with simmeringContinue reading “The Power of Patience”

Extreme Sport: Facing Your Fears

So I’ve been on a writing retreat with my novel the last few days and am glad to get back to blogging! And from the quiet space of that retreat, I return to say yet again: one of the most terrifying things about the artistic process is its vulnerability. If you’ve ever seen The King’s Speech,Continue reading “Extreme Sport: Facing Your Fears”

In the World But Not of It

  Some of my friends–especially those with children–envy the quiet time I have to myself. One friend sank into the cushions of my bamboo chair and listened to the rain drum like fingertips against my attic ceiling. “It must be so nice,” she said. “All this time to write.” No voices. No one competing forContinue reading “In the World But Not of It”

Aim Small, Miss Small

So a friend told me each time I lined up a shot on the pool table. What he meant was don’t just target the cue ball. Pick a specific point on the surface where I want to leave a chalk mark. And choose a specific point on the ball I’m aiming to sink. Know exactlyContinue reading “Aim Small, Miss Small”

How Much

The questions I’m tormenting myself with at the moment are: “How much is too much?” and “How much is enough?” “A word count, a page count–it’s so arbitrary,” one writer told me last week over her historical fiction novel. “And if I don’t meet it, I feel miserable. Why would I do that to myself?”Continue reading “How Much”