On Planning Books

There are two types of writers: pantsers and planners. The first just writes. The second plans first. I fall in with the latter. As I see it, this quote also applies to writing. If I’m going to write a book, I’m going to plan it all out, while still leaving enough patience in my mind for the sudden twists that will pop up and demand that my structure be revamped.

the pearl

Review – The Pearl

I bought my copy of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl in a cramped used bookstore in Seoul. It was the cover that caught my eye: faded blue with a simple drawing of a diver clutching a pearl. I didn’t get around to reading it until six months ago. Embarrassingly enough, this is the first of Steinbeck’s works that I’ve read.

The plot if relatively simple. A man finds a large pearl that he imagines will solve all of his problems in life, but actually becomes a curse that ruins everything he ever knew and loved. But it’s not the plot that had me placing this on a special section of my bookshelf. It’s the writing.

Steinbeck’s simple but evocative sentences call to mind a mixture of Hemingway’s own sparse writing mixed with a dollop of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lyrical descriptions. I have always loved these two writers’ styles and seeing Steinbeck has only heightened my own sense of what good writing looks like. I even started to notice a pattern: I didn’t notice a single simile in The Pearl. They maight have been scattered here or there, but I didn’t notice the normal amount of ‘like’ and ‘as’ that I often see in modern day books, and in my own writing. His phrases were tighter and stronger for the lack of words.

I highly recommend this short read, especially if The Old Man and The Sea is one of your favorites. 

Ursula K Le Guin calls on Writers to Envision Alternatives to Capitalism

Old news, but something for fantasy and sci-fi writers to consider as they work on building their novels’ worlds.

In her award speech for the National Book Foundation’s for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, Ursula Le Guin spoke a bit about capitalism and its effects on modern-day book prices. But capitalism is not a permanent institution.“Its power seems inescapable,” she said. “So did the divine right of kings.”

She then calls on writers, specifically of fantasy and science fiction, to envision the next step in our society. Like writers before us, authors now have the chance to shape future thoughts with their own ideas of what would make the world a better place.


you never have time

Artist: baeldung


Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

I’m sure anyone reading this has seen a Pixar movie. Toy Story. Monster Inc. The Incredibles. Inside Out. Many were instant classics. It’s not just their superb animations that shoves them above and beyond their competition, it’s the stories themselves and how the viewers relate to the characters, struggles, and accomplishments found within them.

These 22 rules of storytelling don’t really belong exclusively to Pixar. They are a mish-mash of lessons learned from various sources originally tweeted by Pixars’ Emma Coats and later compiled into a list form. As these aphorisms stand, they are useful, but a bit of expanding and amending are needed.

So, if after you red this list, you want to know more, I encourage you to read Stephan Bugaj’s analysis of these rules. At seventy-five pages, it’s a bit of a read, but well-worth it if you want to delve deeper into the inner machinations of what makes a Pixar story tick.


Quote by Henry Wadsworth Longsfellow

Read the short story, Flowers for Algernon, on my lunch break today. Really great story. Revived an idea that for a novel that I started and stopped a couple of years back. Think I’ll revisit it in the next year, try to resuscitate it, as it were.


A Screenwriting Adage

Step 1: Put a man up a tree.

Step 2: Throw stones at him.

Step 3: Get him down.


The Tiger & The Monk

This documentary astounded me. Just surreal. Plus, it gave me and idea or three that’s I’ll be putting toward my current work in progress.

Jihaku (Foo Fighters – Best of You)

If only I could write a book that captures everything I feel when I watch this….