August Write Day: Energy Lacking

July strangely felt like a long month, but I still can’t believe it’s August. Summer is almost over! And I haven’t been to the beach! I’m hoping to have an extended beach weekend in October, when there would be fewer crowds and (ideally) still some warm weather. But we’ll see.

I procrastinated soooo much in July. Maybe I cursed myself by declaring the Return of the Summer Doldrums. I also feel like I haven’t had a free weekend in months. We’ve been going pretty hard at home improvement things for like eight straight Saturdays.

Still, I did halfway decently with my goals.

Continue reading “August Write Day: Energy Lacking”

Finding a Way to Enjoy Your Story

Creativity Sessions writing process. Evening Satellite Publishing.

I don’t always enjoy the story I’m writing. There, I said it. Sometimes, the story doesn’t feel right, or it doesn’t excite me, and it’s just not working the way I had intended it to. And I start to dislike it… maybe even resent it a little for taking up so much of my head space and typing capacity.

However, there is one simple reason that I think lies at the heart of not enjoying the story you’re writing: you haven’t figured out what to like about your story yet. Continue reading “Finding a Way to Enjoy Your Story”

Leaning into the Discovery Draft

I’ve been known to self-edit when I write… a lot. For the first draft of WoEM, I think I wrote and rewrote the first couple of chapters three or four times before I made any real progress on the story.

I’ve been knee-deep in the discovery draft of my short stories for a couple months, and it’s taken a while to convince my brain that it’s only the discovery draft.

So I just wanted to talk about some things to keep in mind as you write a discovery draft. Continue reading “Leaning into the Discovery Draft”

How Do You Organize Your World-Building Canon?

As I write “Survivor”, my not-officially-titled duology, I keep thinking about how I might be able to organize my world-building canon better.

Most of what I’ve written in my fantasy universe has been in The Warden of Everfeld stories, of which I have one novel published and one in draft. “Survivor” is the first story that does not overlap WoEM, but shares some of its history and geography with those novels. And I want to make sure that what I write in one doesn’t contradict the other.

So, how do you organize your world-building canon? Continue reading “How Do You Organize Your World-Building Canon?”

10 Stories to Experience with My Kid

My son is eighteen months old now, and he loves listening to stories, turning the pages of books, listening to music, and watching cartoons. I’m not sure how much of any of it he understands, but it’s exciting to watch him experience those things.

A colleague recently told me how he was watching through all of the Star Wars movies with his eight-year-old daughters, hoping to bring them to the theater to see The Rise of Skywalker. He managed to catch it with them just last week, and he said their reactions and excitement in the theater was well worth it.

That got me thinking about the types of stories — movies, books, TV — I’m looking forward to sharing with my son. So here’s my top 10. Continue reading “10 Stories to Experience with My Kid”

Burnout Story #1: The Post-College Glow

Back in December I posted a review for one an Audible Original, a short interview-style listen called “The Burnout Generation”. Aside from being an interesting listen, this short had me reflecting on the various points in my life I’ve hit burnout, particularly post-college and as an adult.

So I’d like to follow up on some of those ideas and tell my first burnout story: the year or so after I finished undergrad.

Continue reading “Burnout Story #1: The Post-College Glow”

Writing a Novel vs. Writing a Short Story

For the first time in my authorly endeavors, I have two major works in progress… in progress.

I’m 60k words into The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy, a sequel-ish novel of 180-200k words that I know I’m not finishing this year.

Simultaneously, I’m 6k words into a duology/novella of about 60k words that I damn well better finish this year.

And after much deliberation and introspection, I can confirm: writing a short story is different from writing a novel. Continue reading “Writing a Novel vs. Writing a Short Story”

Reflections on Another Completed Story: “The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan”

As you might have seen on Friday, I just posted the twelfth and final chapter of “The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan, Volume One” on Wattpad, so I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on the last year of publishing with Wattpad, as well as the writing of these stories. Continue reading “Reflections on Another Completed Story: “The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan””

#Review: THE SISTERS, by Dervla McTiernan – Quick Detective Listen with Great Characters

If you’ve been paying attention to my Goodreads recently, you know I’ve polished off a couple of Audible’s Originals — short stories published exclusively on that platform.

I’m rather impressed with what Audible has put out on that front, including “The Sisters,” by Dervla McTiernan

Having read very little in the crime-detective genre, I was intrigued by “The Sisters,” mostly as a gateway story to the larger Cormac Reilly series by McTiernan. This story is somehow a prequel or a prelude to the larger series, so I was interested to dip my toe in. What I found was an interesting story with great characters, and I sort of just want to read more about them.

Airfric and Carrie are sisters, a barrister and a garda respectively, and both are eager to make names for themselves in their careers. Carrie becomes entangled in a suspicious murder case that Airfric is defending, and ends up helping to solve it against the wishes of the detectives in her squad.

Honestly, by the time the real detective aspect of this story got under way, it was halfway over. I really enjoyed both Carrie and Airfric as POV characters, but I wanted this story to have more meat to it.

A few weeks removed from listening to this, it feels like the first third of this two-hour listen was just Airfric going about one particularly bad day as a junior barrister, until she stumbles into this case.

Again, I loved Airfric as a POV character. McTiernan’s style is easy to grasp but not lacking in emotional depth. I think she excels in brevity that somehow carries added layers to it. I just wish I either had more time to spend in this story, or that the real story had begun sooner.

Just as you get used to Airfric’s voice and get into her part, the POV switches to her sister, Carrie. Carrie, the garda, was also a great character. Aside from their slightly different accents (both achieved by the narrator and noted in the story by other characters), it’s easy to glimpse of bit of Carrie and Airfric’s relationship, and hear the lifelong bond. Still, both have distinct narrative voices that play off each other well.

Once Carrie really digs into this case she’s not supposed to be involved with — because obviously — the story moves even more quickly and then ends, rather abruptly.

I think this could have been a novella, or even more, with the care that is given to these characters’ personalities and background. That’s really my only gripe with this story: it’s too damn short.

Aiofe McMahon was also a fantastic narrator. Who doesn’t love a melodious Irish accent? But for real, I’m finding that I will actively search out books narrated by specific people, simply because their voices are so pleasant to listen to, and they are talented vocal actors. I will definitely be listening to more of her McMahon’s work in audiobooks.

Steve D