Category Archives: Writing


Bradbury on Starting Writing, Keeping Writing, and Love

I grew up reading Ray Bradbury stories and loved it when 13 of his short stories were adapted for radio (because, you know, I’m into that sort of thing). So, naturally, I’ve checked out some interviews and lectures where he talks about writing and his thoughts on it.

This hour-long lecture comes from when Bradbury was around 80, so it should come as no surprise if your curmudgeon detector goes off. However, other videos can give you more of a taste of that.

Here, I especially like how he tackles:

How to get started writing

His advocacy of attempting short stories before getting deep into novels mirrors other a lot of what I’ve read and heard in the filmmaking realm, where doing shorts is often vital in learning various aspects of craft. It also matches what many people say in that the quantity and mindful practice is invaluable to getting better.

How to get your brain percolating about writing

I mean, as the lecture goes on, he does keep on adding to one’s evening homework, but Bradbury isn’t the only one who advocates reading poetry (I’ve had acting teachers and dialect coaches push for the same).

And it seems like a good way to keep your brain active in any case (writer or not).

Why you’re writing in the first place

As with any creative pursuit, it should all roll back to love, which he mentions generally near the beginning and closes with very personally at the end.


Public Domain Day, 2023 Addendum

I have a new source to look for regarding Public Domain Day every January… that is assuming Steve Shives returns for more merriment next year. I’ve already enjoyed his Star Trek commentaries and now I learn how much of a classic film buff he is — and he doesn’t mind singing. Truly, he contains multitudes.

His phrasing is occasionally delightfully NSFW at moments, so be warned for when you watch.

Thoughts on the “A.I. is Inevitable” Bandwagon

What with starting the year off with a Public Domain post, I’ll continue in the intellectual property realm with a topic currently being discussed and debated mightily amongst indie artists and writers I know: how artificial intelligence (aka “A.I.”) is starting to do creative jobs.

Author Chuck Wendig has some choice NSFW words on this matter.

(Graphic via Chuck Wendig’s blog)

I especially appreciate him tackling the fact that the existence of technology neither means its inevitability nor that it will be implemented a specific way with no societal discussion. Naturally, those who stand to profit from a particular technology and specific implementation are going to push for whatever way benefits them. He touches on this and, sadly, that recurring theme of technology implementation has a high probability of impacting a lot of independent artists, writers, and voiceover artists — the last group being the main topic of the article above.

As someone who both works as a voice actor and casts voice actors for an audio theater troupe, I can’t imagine relying on artificial voices. Theater itself is about collaboration and connection, including with an audience. Its value isn’t derived from its efficiency. And, as Wendig points out, in this economic system, making a living is a reason for creative work too, so, hey, A.I., maybe don’t steal fizzy lifting drink?

Public Domain Day, 2023

I plan to do posts on public domain every year and I really should have last January for this clip alone, but the year got away from me early.

Really gotta appreciate the Winnie the Pooh/Hemingway mash-up.

Now that was last year, and most of you already know about the Winnie the Pooh horror movie soon to be out in the world?

So what’s in store for 2023 and all the goodies from 1927 now in the public domain in the U.S.?

As always, Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain provides a good overview of the year in question, penned by Jennifer Jenkins, the director or said center.

Over at Polygon, David Grossman notes some of the highlights that are agreed upon by most of the links here, including Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis and the last collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories.

Author Cory Doctorow has many thoughts on the Arthur Conan Doyle estate no longer having rights to Sherlock Holmes (though noting some legalistic clinging may yet occur) and his piece is a good reminder of how we all benefit from works entering the public domain.

The efforts of estates and entertainment conglomerates to hold onto intellectual property for as long as possible is also explored in an article by Aaron Moss that will likely interest many of you.

Also, it’s worth noting the the U.S. copyright law is different from other countries, but they have works that go into the public domain on January 1st as well… and the appropriately named Public Domain Review has a rundown of some of those works.

Finally, I would expect any site with a name like Book Riot to be very into Public Domain Day and Annika Barranti Klein’s article validates that expectation.

So there it is: a whole new year’s worth of goodies that may fuel your own creativity. If you do something with any of the 1927 works, leave a note about it down in the comments. We’ll see you next year when a certain 1928 cartoon is sure to be the headline for many a public domain post.


Margaret Atwood on Writing

This one’s from 4 years ago, but pretty evergreen: persistent writer Margaret Atwood talks with a new generation of writers about her process and some key writing tips… and don’t forget to sit up straight.

Lessons Learned from NaNoWriMo, 20 Years On

It’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. Right now, friends and colleagues are busily trying to reach daily word counts that will total 50,000 words or more at the end of the month.

I linked to a series of resources (articles, videos) about approaching NaNoWriMo and novel writing last month. My month is packed full of going through casting submissions for the first half and then script-writing on a certain space opera for the second half, but I wanted to add something for folks novel-writing one week in.

Okay, most folks are probably using some for of word processor vs. doing NaNoWriMo long hand, but this looks cooler (also, less like a crazed hacker).

Long-time NaNoWriMo participant Kathy Kitts has seen some things over the years and shares her experience… and since she’s not only a writer, but a scientist, she brings a certain entertaining rigor to her observations over the years.

“Leveling Up” your Writing Prior to NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us, so I’ve been posting articles for what many writers call National Novel Prep Month.

(I’m mainly going to hype my writing in an anthology this month… and also work on some scriptwriting).

In this installment, Shannon Valenzuela goes into some actions you can take to make the most of your prep.

9 Steps to Build a Strong Plot (NaNoWriMo Prep)

NaNoWriMo will be upon us next month, and so for a lot of people, October is National Novel Prep Month.

(I’m mainly going to hype my writing in an anthology this month… and also work on some scriptwriting).

Now, if you read last week’s post and decided that you are more of a plotter, writer Derek Murphy has a 9 step “plot dot” for you. For some, you’ll quickly pick up on the fact that this is quite in line with the “hero’s journey,” which may not fit with the novel you’re trying to write. However, for many species of novel and feature film, there’s a key conceit that this story is a chronicle of something that happened that was quite extraordinary, even on the personal level of a single level. Implicitly, we, the readers or audience want to know “why is this night is different from all other nights?” as it were. So whatever your story’s goals are, you gotta deliver.

Are You a Pantser or Plotter? (NaNoWriMo Prep)

NaNoWriMo will be upon us next month, and so for a lot of people, October is National Novel Prep Month.

(I’m mainly going to hype my writing in an anthology this month… and also work on some scriptwriting).

This Monday’s entry is important, as we’ll be midway through this prep month before you know it and you need to ask yourself: am I pantser or a plotter? Will Soulsby-McCreath walks you through some thought exercises to narrow down your preference.

I really enjoy the questions — and remember, you can use some combination. That’s essentially what I do, though my method is likely worth its own post at another time.

Sci Fi versus Fantasy

A meme tickled Twitter users’ fancy late last month and for good reason: it was a pair of pithy comments contrasting science fiction and fantasy and skewering the related tropes for both.

Mignon Fogarty has a good collection over at the Grammar Girl, but be warned! You’ll start wanting to do your own.

To whit: Sci Fi is this blog on an encrypted server you’ll need some cyberpunk hacker to access. Fantasy is this blog on ancient parchment written in a language few alive still speak.