Archive for all posts in 2016

2016 And All That Dept.

One last wrapup.

Inexpertise Dept.

On the idea: "It was better when I didn't really know what I was doing."

Halt And Catch Fire Dept.

"PC" stands for "Persnickety Computer."

Conversations (And Proversations) Dept.

With any story, it takes time to "get the conversation" about the story.

Hot Off The Presses Dept.

New books o' mine! And some old ones, too!

Let's Do It Again (And Again, And Again) Dept.

"When audiences clamor for a sequel, what they’re really doing is expressing their enthusiasm for the movie they just saw."

Half Outside The Comfort Zone Dept.

I've always chosen projects that lay at least half outside my comfort zone.

Coltrane Vs. Vonnegut III Dept.

To exist is to be misunderstood.

Coltrane Vs. Vonnegut II Dept.

On why being your "true" self is not a matter of acting out things that you normally repress.

Coltrane Vs. Vonnegut Dept.

Two theories about the social utility of art,

Ow My Brains! Dept.

"Pain is not punishment. Pleasure is not a reward."

Tick Tick Tock Dept.

On time travel and our urge to get away from it all.

Motive Power Dept.

You can't rely on motivation; rely on discipline instead.

No, No, NaNo Dept.

No new novel this November. I'm already booked.

A quick note.

I have said very little about the election here, but not because I don't care about it.


I just want people to know blogging will resume in short order, and so will my writing work. It's been a busy couple of days, as you can imagine....

Mind: Your Own Business Dept.

On not letting my brain lie to me.

Which One's Pink? How About All Of Them? Dept.

On the way a war with one's self is a creative act.

I Don't Know Much About Art, But I Know Who I Like Dept.

A portrait of the artist as an insufferable jerk.

The Most Professional Guys In The Room Dept.

More on what "real writers" do (or don't do).

The WDTJSH Problem Dept.

The single biggest difficulty I have as a writer, explained.

Label, Label, Label Dept.

I'm not fond of labels. Unfortunately, we can't live without them.

Stranger Things Dept.

More on why weird isn't just skin-deep.

The Big Shakeup Dept.

Out with the old blog, in with the new blog. Slowly.

Hindsight For Thee But Not For Me Dept.

Anything that gets in the way of your work is the way; it just doesn't look like it then.

Doing Weird Dept.

Don't do weird. Just do you.

An Appropriate Response Dept.

Creativity; cultural appropriation; "write what you know"; and all that.

It'll Be Fun, They Said Dept.

How my latest book started as a lark, and turned into a mission.

To Thine Own Balance Be True Dept.

The key word there isn't 'balance', but 'your'. (Well, 'thine'.)

Copy Shop Dept.

Cloning isn't a creative act.

Pushing Your Own Envelope Dept.

The hard things, and why they're worth doing.

Big Page, Little Screen Dept.

Write something unfilmable.

A Brief Pause

See you shortly.

Inspired By A True Story Dept.

On finding the real source of inspiration inside someone else's work.

For Me And Me Alone Dept.

What self-respecting writer doesn't write "for themselves" first and foremost?

If I Were Them Dept.

When you make the reader say, "I'd do that if I was them."

Better People For Better Worlds Dept.

Most people do not want to use their minds, but don't hold that against them. Rise to it instead.

The Big(ger) Picture Dept.

On why the problem is not belief or the absence of same.

I'll Tell Me What To Do Dept.

More on spiritual authority.

The Mind At The End Of The World Dept.

For sentient beings who have considered suicide when the world seemed to be enuf.

A Power Greater Than Itself Dept.

"There's something to how writers are more than writers, and fail themselves by only being writers."

Gimlet Eyes Dept.

Artists can be politically outspoken, but are not automatically astute for being so.

Cynthia's Blues Dept.

Can in time a comic book stand in the same realm as anything Henry James produced? I'm sure it's possible; I'd argue it's already happened.

Be Ye Not As Jerks Dept.

Belief or nonbelief isn't absolutely correlated with good behavior; it's all in how you use it.

From The Closet Dept.

What happens to a story idea deferred? Does it dry up?

The Sense (And Sensibility) Of An Ending Dept.

I don't always know what will happen by the end of the story, but I do know how I want you to feel about it.

My New Brain Dept.

On life without Facebook. (It's pretty good.)

Major Malfunction (Keith Leblanc)

Bonus beats for a world that lives technology rather than just using it.

Tear Along The Dotted Line Dept.

In stories, things fall apart; that's why they're interesting.

Other Worlds Dept.

One of my other projects is taking shape.

Better Than Nothing Dept.

"Which is better, a ham sandwich or eternal happiness?" Or a perfect plan?

Signal Vs. Noise Dept.

If I'm not talking, it's because I'm listening. Or at least trying to.

Goin' West Dept.

On thickening the plot.

Power Inc. Vol. 1 + Vol. 2 (Tackhead)

Until we get a Tackhead box set, these two discs will have to do as a source for anthologizing most of the band's best sampler-drum-machine-and-funk moments.

Background Task Dept.

No good story ever takes too long to write.

Aoi no Ue (Jōji Yuasa)

The first of a series of records by Edition Omega Point that explores the undeservedly unheard Japanese avant-garde.

Push My Envelope Dept.

"Transgressive" isn't what it used to be. Maybe it never was.

Outside The Cocoon Dept.

"In this cocoon, the working class is something to make money from..."

Bigger Fish To Fry Dept.

"My problems are bigger than yours" is always a bad argument.

Kill 'Em All And Let George Sort 'Em Out Dept.

On GRRM's dead pool (lower case, haha).

You Are Not Your F***ing Khakis Dept.

And you're not your desires, either.

Solo Act Dept.

Having a larger audience helps, but not at the cost of creative latitude.

Green In The Face Dept.

It is hard not to be jealous of other people's successes, and maybe it ought to be hard, because that teaches us something.

All The Wrong Lessons Dept.

Why bad video game lore is a lot like bad pop culture: it embodies the wrong lessons.

A Narrow Beauty Dept.

it isn't political unpalatability that makes for bad art, but the narrowing of the mind that often goes with it.

We Put The 'Cult' In Culture Dept.

Modern fandom of the fantastic is transformative, not passive.

10,000 Hours And Then Some Dept.

Why everything that's truly creative is what we're trained to ignore.

The Duke, The Prince, And Me Dept.

How David Bowie and Prince jointly inspired a character of mine.

The First Round In The Chamber Dept.

And so "Always Outnumbered" begins.

I Dunno LOL Dept.

On the freedom to say "I don't know" and not be punished for it.

Some Good News From The Salt Mines Dept.

How I stopped worrying and learned to love detailed story planning.

Out From The Fold Dept.

Where'd "Welcome to the Fold" go? It's right here, waiting.

But That's Still Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man Dept.

I think, therefore I differ.

Real Cool World Dept.

On the urge to be cool vs. the urge to be real (in one's creative work).

A Cue From Within Dept.

On how some creative folks don't know how to follow their hearts.

Innovate Or Degenerate Dept.

Doug Rushkoff Says Companies Should Stop Growing | FiveThirtyEight ... as you act more according to your type, and as the marketplace becomes more and more predetermined and predictable, you actually don’t get growth, you don’t get innovation. ... Because...

City: Works Of Fiction (Jon Hassell)

Somewhere between Herbie Hancock's electronic pop-jazz of the 1980s and the more omnivorous, open-ended experimentalism of artists like David Byrne or Brian Eno.

Playing Catchup Dept.

Batman v Superman, and Writerman v Plotcomplicationthings.

Snapped In Half, All Burned Up Dept.

How the other half of the new novel came to not be.

Good Guys Wear Black Dept.

Good guy, bad guy, or interesting guy?

None-Hit Wonders Dept.

If I'm in the habit of listening outside my well-worn grooves, nothing is disappointing or distasteful.

Can You Picture That Dept.

Failures of imagination are about more than bad worldbuilding or ripping off someone else's warp drive concept.

The Dose Makes The Cure Dept.

Pilling the cat, made simple.

Open Up And Bleed Dept.

On undeserved misfortune as the technique to demonstrating character.

Still Sorting It All Out Dept.

More notes on using a wiki to declutter my creative head.

Sorting It All Out Dept.

On using a wiki to declutter my creative head.

Rules Are Made To Be Broken Dept.

How laying the ground rules for my new book almost ground me down.

App Happy Dept.

What's in my writer's software toolbox.

Mind Your Manners (And Manner Your Mind) Dept.

When people talk about "civilization falling apart" or "the death of manners" I can't help but think they are either looking for those things in the wrong place (like, say, a prison or a stockyard), or just sensitizing themselves to...

The Goalless Goal Dept.

"You can only find things by not looking for them."

Larger Than Fiction Dept.

On being Trumped.

Outliners And Outliers Dept.

The thirty thousand foot creative view.

Hooked On Phonics Dept.

Never fill your day with anything you can't see yourself doing the minute you get out of bed.

Hollow Men Dept.

"Who goes Nazi?" The hollow men, that's who.

Not The Smartest Guys In The Room Dept.

I don't think SF authors have an obligation to be scientific authorities, but I do think they have an obligation to be scientifically literate.

To Cut The Drum Open (And See What Makes It Go Bang) Dept.

There are times when you want to keep the mystery, and there are times when you don't.

Nightmares And Madmen Dept.

When you replace the "nightmare" with "insanity", what happens?

'Flight of the Vajra' Is In The Running In The Nerdist's Space Opera Competition At Inkshares!

ATTENTION READERS/FANS OF MY WRITING AND MOST EVERYONE ELSE TO BOOT: I need your help! I have just submitted my far-future SF fantasia Flight of the Vajra to The Nerdist's new Space Opera competition over at Inkshares: Here are...

Big Wheel Turnin' Dept.

I remain busy.

The Big Snub Dept.

At what point does "doing your own thing" become mere contempt for the audience?

Eyes Wide Shut Dept.

Harlan Ellison is best known for his fantasy and SF work, but he was also responsible for The Glass Teat, a two-volume collection of columns he ran in the L.A. Free Press from about 1969 through 1972. The subject was...

A Bigger And Better Excuse Dept.

When does justification for a creative decision fall short?

Listen Without Prejudice Dept.

How to hear them out when they say you're wrong.

Them's Fighting Words Dept.

On "pretentious" and "elitist".

Plugging One's Ears Dept.

On ignoring bad advice, part two.

I Did It My Way Dept.

How to figure out if your way is in fact a dead end.

Make Something Dept.

It's good for the soul.

Eat The Rich Or Soak Them? Dept.

Why we aren't "questioning the legitimacy of a system that confers so much value on to stupid things".

Am I Blu? Dept.

I know I'm not 4K, that's for sure.

You've Got Thirty Seconds To Sell Me On This Dept.

The difference between the outline and the pitch.

Stuporheroes Dept.

Age of Dulltron.

Hancock Dept.

Now you can get signed editions of my e-books -- sorta-kinda!

See previous posts from 2015

See future posts from 2017

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This page contains an archive of posts for the year 2016.

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I'm an independent SF and fantasy author, technology journalist, and freelance contemplator for how SF can be more than just a way to blow stuff up.

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