How to Write REAL Characters and Stories

Narratives and the characters that drive them are icebergs. What I mean is this: the things that happen on the surface are driven by what is far beneath the mirky, cold waters. Most people will say that we are icebergs with a small upper surface, then everything else beneath us. But I think it behooves the writer to see that we can break that down a bit further to make our narratives richer. Continue reading


The Narrative Problem with Ghost Recon Wildlands

How do you make a nonlinear story have resonance and meaningful impact, especially when the audience can do whatever they want. Yes, let’s talk about video games. Specifically, Ghost Recon Wildlands. Ubisoft made a rich, entertaining world. Their story though? Not great. The sacrifice made at the altar of player agency was compelling narrative and story resolution. Continue reading

Writers: Write Like a Filmmaker

I am not an expert. I don’t have a bundle of best sellers under my belt. I’m not going to tell you that I have all the answers. But I like to read. I like to read books and like I watch films. I started my career as a video editor. I’ve made short films. I’ve seen how the medium has become democratized by digital equipment, and I have seen how that has made story more important than Hollywood budgets. I’ve also seen self-publishing democratize fiction writing in much the same way. So I married those two ideas together, and this is where we’re left: a few insights on how to write your book like a filmmaker. Continue reading

The Hunted – Chapter 2

“What are you doing?” the girl asked with the conviction of a disappointed parent. Alan pulled his hand back from the bubbling air, his arm causing a wave to erupt from the temporal pool in front of him. They had been walking around the fields of the in between for what felt like weeks. Alan finally realized that the pools were points in time. He couldn’t resist trying to help his friends. Continue reading

Our World Now

So we filled our cups to the brim with hatred. And we cast ignorance upon you if you didn’t agree. And with any misstep we wouldn’t bury you, but you felt six feet under. We’d take your job, your reputation, and – if an apology was granted – your soul as well. And you would be the cautionary tale that we would spin cycle in our 24 hour news coverage. And the pundits would bemoan your mistake, and assassinate your character, and impugn your very existence. Because we were right, and we always would be. And you would be wrong, and you would be evil, a relic of an ancient past full of pagan ritual and superstition.

Your pain

The dog was a mutt, with no clear ancestry to speak of. He was smiling in the dumb way all dogs do: mouth agape, tongue slung back and forth and bobbing. But one eye was happy and clear, while the other – still happy – was infected and compacted by swollen flesh.

We packed our car, while the dog made itself a curious visitor on our sidewalk, inspecting our day-old thai food bag and gazing up at us with childlike wonder. We tried to think of a story about him; where did he come from and how did he get his eye infection. As I helped my wife into the car, the dog turned his adoration solely on me. He followed me to the driver’s side of the car.

I pointed away, shoo’ing him to get going. It pained me to watch him back away, his eyes still happy despite my shunning. I closed the car door, and he sauntered around the back end of the vehicle. I watched from the rearview mirror, then the side mirror, as he came walking back up the sidewalk to the front of our car. My wife sighed an empathetic tone. We started the car, and the dog finally knew we were leaving. He saw a man down the street mowing his lawn, and ran after him with a burst of exuberance.

Despite his pain, the dog knew that a new discovery was just down the street.