In-Flight Entertainment: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Stories

Epiphany struck me 35,000 over Chicago. Dimmed lights in the plane cabin made my laptop screen glow conspicuously on the tiny tray table, an invitation to judge over my shoulder, but I didn’t have time for self-consciousness. I had revisions to finish. Faced with a cross-country business trip, I’d assigned myself a travel project of … Continue reading In-Flight Entertainment: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Stories

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Decaying Dreams: When Fiction-Writing and Reality Collide

If you’re one of my regular crew, you may have noticed that I’ve been AWOL for the past few weeks. I could, with some measure of truthfulness, attribute it to natural causes like being busy at my Day Job or taking a vacation. But to borrow from Jane Austen, "disguise of every sort is my … Continue reading Decaying Dreams: When Fiction-Writing and Reality Collide

The Accidental Mirror: What Flawed Characters Reveal About Ourselves

Running solves most of my problems. Bad day at work? Fight with the family? Mad at the world in general? After half a dozen sweaty miles, I reach a place where I’m better equipped to deal. It’s especially helpful for working through story issues. My feet go on autopilot, carrying me not through neighborhoods and … Continue reading The Accidental Mirror: What Flawed Characters Reveal About Ourselves

The Beautiful Scientist Problem, Pt III: Three Traps to Avoid When Writing Female Characters

Even when writers describe and develop female characters well, they still must navigate a minefield of stale and unhealthy cliches. Tumbling into one of these pernicious pits can ruin a great heroine, and sometimes the entire story along with her. In this final post of my series on writing female characters, I’ll identify three common … Continue reading The Beautiful Scientist Problem, Pt III: Three Traps to Avoid When Writing Female Characters

The Beautiful Scientist Problem, Pt II: Three Tips for Writing “Strong” Female Characters

In the first post in this series, we discussed subjectivity and objectification when describing female characters. But "beautiful" isn't the only contentious adjective frequently applied to them. Lots of readers claim to love “strong” heroines; what does this actually mean? As a kid in the 90s, I caught the leading edge of the "more strong heroines!" … Continue reading The Beautiful Scientist Problem, Pt II: Three Tips for Writing “Strong” Female Characters