This Was Made For Me… And No One Else

What’s it like when you can’t share the things you love?
In some cases, it means more for you!
During my tenure as a No Shame Theatre showrunner, I saw a board member’s brother attend a show. He enjoyed our performances, and we had fun hanging out with him afterwards. He never returned. I asked the board member why his sibling never came back. The board member told me that his brother, despite liking the show, felt he couldn’t recommend No Shame to anyone he knew.

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Advanced Praise for “Two Candidates Walk Into A Bar”

“I legitimately laughed-out-loud when I read the words under your first chapter :).”

-A. Adams (not Amy Adams)

I submitted Two Candidates Walk Into A Bar for a novel workshop class this year. Here are a few of my classmate’s positive responses. Of course, not everything said about my novel was complimentary. But that doesn’t matter anymore. Because as of right now, the novel on ChapterBuzz has been updated. Welcome to Two Candidates Walk Into A Bar 2.0.

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The Wheels of Writing Grind Slowly, But Everything’s Fine!

The journey to create Two Candidates Walk Into A Bar has been a strange one. I’ve finished Amal Beck’s character sheet yesterday. Today and tomorrow, I’ll work on edits to the novel itself. During the past week, I’ve thought about how to rework different parts of the story. In answer to last week’s post: I’m going with option 3.

(as a side note, I lost my current idea notepad AGAIN. I swear, my iPod Touch targets the most important notes I keep for unexpected deletion. This is the third time in the past two years where out of 30 notes, the only jottings to disappear are the most important ones.)

What I’ve learned as a writer: it’s ok if nothing goes as planned. I like my schedules, and this week looked like the first period of time in a while when I could actually keep one. Today’s missed alarms thought otherwise. Again, technology is out to get me. Or, at least, it’s trying to convince me that the only things worth doing are worth doing quickly.

Novel-writing will continue to be a rocky, bizarre process. It’s time I embraced that. I still want to create a good schedule for myself, mind… but I also want the freedom to change it when I need to. I dictate the schedule; the schedule doesn’t dictate me.  Beating myself up over today will not help me get up tomorrow. And hey, I don’t need all those idea notes anyways… I’ve got plenty to use.

I hope you don’t surrender your writing life to what you think should happen. I hope you let your beautiful, crazy experiences create a writing life all for yourself.

Glimmer Train Winter 2015: “Transit,” by Gillian Burnes


We end the Winter 2015 issue of Glimmer Train as we began it— with a globe-hopping look at how every life interconnects. And, would you believe it, it’s even more plotless than “Number 41” was! That’s not all bad. Like I said, some stories move along by theme instead of plot. And in a couple of those stories, theme’s all you got. I loved “Number 41” like a comfort pillow. “Transit”’s more like bubble wrap… fun and cozy, to be sure, but not as substantial or even as appealing as such a pillow.

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Have You Heard About The World Culture Encyclopedia?

In a previous “Have You Heard” post, I extolled all the great things Writing With Color provides. But if you want to create a story about a culture other than your own, then you’ll need some hard data. Do you check Wikipedia for factoids? Here’s a better option! You can look at the World Culture Encyclopedia (a.k.a., which gives great breakdowns on cultures from Afghanistan to Zambia, from French Canadians to Afro-Colombians.



Each entry provides an overview of a country’s geography, language, national identity, diet, industries, class systems, social problems, family units, etiquette, art, and sometimes even more, depending on which nation you research. A well-cited bibliography caps off each section. All this information can be dense, so don’t expect to go though it all in one sitting.

Also, don’t try to put all your findings in one story! When I wrote “I Am A Mountain (y estoy hundiendome),” I began my research with this long entry on Mexican-Americans. Of the notes I wrote down, I used only 10% of the facts I listed. Lucha Corpi seems cool, but I don’t think she needs to get name-dropped in a superhero story. The World Culture Encyclopedia should provide you with a background for your story… not a prong for your thesis.

Why Reading Is Like Weightlifting (or: why I love graphic novels)

I mentioned on April 1st that I was reading Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov. I finished the book today. Mind you, the book only has 300 pages, and I started a good deal before April.
If you want to know what I thought about Pale Fire, you can find my review on my Instagram. Yes, the review consists of one picture. To find out what I thought, use your interpretative skills.
I like creating critiques of books through visual shorthand. It’s a weird hobby, but the practice helps me abstract my reaction to literature, record what I read each year, and create a type of analysis never seen before. It’s also in danger of ruining my reading hobby.

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The Fate of “Two Candidates Walk Into A Bar” rests with YOU!

For each Trudge-Along Tuesday, I plan to show you what I did to advance my writing goals. Ideally, I present something concrete each week, like a new chapter for my novel. But throughout the past few days, my unconscious mind took over my musings on a problem. I wanted to say I finished Amal’s character sheet today. Until I solve this current conundrum, I can’t develop much else.

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