Of Hats and Teeth

deckerI’m getting ready to switch hats and work on something else. I’ve been steaming full speed towards the conclusion of my newest book, but, as often happens, a previous book has popped up with editorial comments. This is my fourth Pathfinder Novel, Through the Gate in the Sea. The comments aren’t too extensive, so I hope to finish it before the week’s end and get back to the new book. Of course, if the other book needs more time, I’ll have to give it, because I want it to head to print in the best shape I can manage.

In other news I’ve been enjoying the fantastic weather here upon the sea of monsters. I’m heading into town in just a few moments to learn just why I have shooting pain when I chew on the right side of my mouth. It’s probably those darned tooth crowns. You see, when my wife and I were first starting out and were very badly off, financially, I thought I could save us a little money by not visiting the dentist for a few years. I had incorrectly reasoned that because I brushed and flossed appropriately my teeth would be okay.

Turns out that I was wrong. I ended up with three tooth crowns and root canals. I’m pretty sure that there’s no living root beneath this crown, so I’m not sure where the pain’s coming from, but I assume I’ll know very shortly.





More Drafting Thoughts

Howard ZebrasIn writing about rough drafts the other day I realized that I breezed over an important step — outlining.

I’ve discussed outlining on the site before (just search through my Writing posts if you’re curious) and I’ve yet to settle on any one outlining technique that I use ALL the time. I find that different approaches work in different instances.

For instance, on the Paizo books I used very detailed outlines that went on for some 10k words. I’ve scaled that way back for the current books and right now it seems to be working. I think about the main arcs and threads, who’s in them, what the challenges are, and what happens when, jot that down to make sure I’ve got track of it, and then start drafting (this is AFTER I know who the characters are, what they want, and, particularly, what the villain wants).

Read More




Rough Drafts

hulk computerI’ve continued to experiment with rough draft methods. The goal is, naturally, to get the rough draft close so that you make as few passes as possible between rough and final.

Sometimes I can get a scene pretty much right the first time, as happened with one chapter in my first published novel, or as happened with individual scenes since then, with increasing frequency. It’s one measure by which I can tell I’m getting to be a more proficient writer.

More often, though, a draft requires multiple passes. I aim for the former but plan for the latter. Here are the steps I’ve started following. Read More




Breaking up is Hard to Do

daredevil 2Dear Daredevil TV Show,

I’m ending our relationship.

You have so many admirers and groupies that I’m certain my own absence will have no effect upon your feelings, but I wanted to air my grievances anyway.

I was pre-disposed to like you a lot, maybe even love you. Sure, I wasn’t a huge DD fan who owned all the Frank Miller graphic novels, but I like a good superhero comic or show and I have fond memories of reading all of my sister’s Daredevil comics. I even bought some myself back in the day.

(If anyone hasn’t seen the show yet, there are SPOILERS GALORE in the following. Be warned!)

Read More





skunkI grew up a city boy. Now, as a city boy in a small mid-western city I was probably a lot more familiar with wildlife than someone born in a vast urban center, but I’m still not fully acquainted with some of the life skills you need to get by in the country, even though I’ve been living here for about twelve years.

Take for instance a burn pile. I’ve never maintained one properly. Despite the wife’s encouragement to burn ours sooner, it’s probably been eight years since I did anything with it. As a result, the burn pile had become a towering mass of sticks and tree limbs. Worse, the manure pile was too close. Manure, you see, is inflammable. (We have so many sticks and tree limbs because we have so many trees. In any big storm we lose a lot of branches.)

Anyway, Sunday I finally went out and started organizing the burn pile so it was safer to burn, and then I had to dig out a safety zone away from the manure. I was out there for most of the day, fairly tired and sore, and right in the final section I found a skunk! Turns out there was a little burrow hidden on the edge of the burn pile. Read More


The Fierce Impatient Side of Things

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lately I’ve been reading through the Del Rey Robert E. Howard collection El Borak And Other Desert Adventures. I’ve read a lot of these stories in various beat-up…

Writing Tools: Notebooks, the Kind with Paper

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

From the time I was in grade school all the way up until after I graduated from college I wrote in notebooks. It seemed such a natural process…

Desert of Souls Available February 15th

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Desert of Souls is now available for Kindle! My first book is now on its way to bookstores, and I recently got to hold the finished product…

After the Book Deal

Monday, January 10, 2011

In May of 2010 I posted two short essays on the Black Gate web site about something that had been a kind of holy grail for me: obtaining…

Signing the Contract

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Last week I wrote about obtaining my first book deal. Over the next few months I thought I’d talk from time to time about what happens next. As…