Technique Dada Cut-Up Burroughs

The idea for this post came while watching an episode of Luther. In one scene, Luther has spread crime photos across the floor. A detective enters, asking why the mess. Luther says he’s using the David Bowie decoupage technique. (I’m roughly paraphrasing, so forgive any inexactness.) Ah-ha! I thought. The old William S. Burroughs cut-up technique!…

Book Suggestion: Write like the Masters, by William Cane

Reviewing old notes in my Evernote account, I found a collection of quotes from Write like the Masters, by William Cane. The book collects facts about the writing habits of famous writers. Go get a copy of the book at Amazon. It’s fantastic.  Here is what I noted about the master, Ray Bradbury. As memory serves, some text comes…

Increase the Drama with Contrasts

As a kid, I collected comic books. I can’t count how many had covers that boasted, in exploding fonts, a collision of “Fire vs. Water!” or “Muscle vs. Metal!” Why were these contrasts of force so common? Because they’re easy and surely the writers were deadline-driven. But beyond that, these couplings are rich with conflict. Each side is an intrinsic obstacle to the other.

Spitballing Past Writer’s Block

Here’s a tip for when writer’s block has seized you in creative paralysis. One day this past summer, I suffered from a mid-story blockage. I’d written what felt like half a story, but was unsure of where the action should go, unable to see what my characters should do. Taking a break from doing nothing,…

Michael Stackpole’s Secrets

Do you struggle to shape your disparate ideas into book-length plots? Get practical advice on how it’s done from the guy whose Star Wars books inspired the upcoming film. For almost two decades, I obsessively read books and blogs about writing in search of clues to unlocking genius. A few years ago, I realized there must…

Idea Generation: Taking a Page from Journalists

Reporters fascinated me as a kid. I’d see them on TV, at press conferences or interviewing pedestrians or whatever, and they clung to every word. And their tools of the trade were glued to their hands: the pen and notebook.