What HP Lovecraft Can Teach Us About Programming the Reader

One of the many reasons I love pulp fiction from the early 20th century is that writers like HP Lovecraft can have a line like, "the moon was gleaming vividly over the primeval ruins" (from "The Nameless City") and actually get away with it. If I wrote something like "gleaming vividly," my teachers would have… Continue reading What HP Lovecraft Can Teach Us About Programming the Reader

Writing the Hard Thing

If I could tell you the number of stories and novels I’ve begun writing and not finished, we’d be here too long.  But “not finished” doesn’t mean “discarded.”  It means what it says.  The difficulty comes when I’ve convinced myself that I’m one sort of writer (the consistent, cheerfully productive kind) as opposed the other,… Continue reading Writing the Hard Thing

Writing out a few sentences by Nakamura to see how they feel.

There was something evil in the glow of the room's blue lights.  I felt the weight of the man on top of me.  He could no longer move.  His eyes were closed.  I stared long into his face.  I realized that I wanted him.  I wanted the passion he had until a moment ago.  I… Continue reading Writing out a few sentences by Nakamura to see how they feel.

On Productivity and Publishing

I've written three books of fiction to date, all story collections; though, only one of them has been published.* This is not remarkable or typical in any sense, even if I do have the stereotypical writer's voice in my head telling me that I should be submitting to more book contests, etc. My submission schedule… Continue reading On Productivity and Publishing

Acts of Defiance

I once took a creative writing workshop from Richard Ford, in which he spent a lot of energy inveighing against the epiphany in short fiction. This must have been in 1997 or 1998. Little did any of us suspect at the time that his vehemence was probably a reaction to a single bad review that… Continue reading Acts of Defiance

Distance Learning

  “Anyway, I think if we route the grant money into the primary fund we’ll be alright. Actually, we’ll be more than alright as long as we don’t spend another dime before fall.” Merton Swinn, the English department’s most recent acquisition, took a measured sip of brandy without blinking or looking away from Van Adler,… Continue reading Distance Learning

Seeing the Cranes: Double Dickage, the Dragon Tower, and Felicia Day

I was sitting in a cafe across the street from Rundetaarn, a Masonic dragon tower in Copenhagen, trying to make progress with William Gibson’s novel, The Peripheral, when I realized it’s constipated with words and it wasn't going to get any more regular after 100 pages. It’s so self-referential, so overwrought and self-conscious that it broke… Continue reading Seeing the Cranes: Double Dickage, the Dragon Tower, and Felicia Day