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Paul Tevis

Entries in writing (41)


Those Transitions Are Key

I forget who pointed me at this excellent short video recently. Whoever it was, thank you.

When building stories, don’t forget this excellent advice from Matt Stone and Trey Parker: Avoid “and then” in favor of “therefore” and “but.”


Fitness: Rest day
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 259 words, 404 seven-day average, 276 average, 45778 total, 2222 to go for the week; 6-day streak

A Late Submission

This piece of flash fiction came to me about four hours after the deadline for Chuck’s challenge. I’m posting it here anyway.

“It’s a tragedy,” the woman with the gun said.

The woman kneeling in front of her on the kitchen floor did not reply.

“Technically, a revenge tragedy,” the older woman continued. “Revenge tragedy, a film critic once told me, asks the question, ‘How much are you willing to hurt yourself after you’ve already been hurt by someone else?’”

She pulled the trigger. Blood and other matter covered the threadbare window drapes.

“A fair amount, it turns out,” she said.

She turned and walked toward the bedroom, leaving her daughter’s body on the cheap linoleum.


Link Roundup For 25 August 2011

More things about writing edition


Fitness: Ran 4 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 350 words, 369 seven-day average, 271 average, 40152 total, 848 to go for the week; 15-day streak

Picking Up The Pace

Chuck Wendig has said that every ten thousand words or so is a peak or valley in the experience of writing a novel. My cycles may be little faster, but I’m definitely on a peak now.

I’ll hit 30K by this time next week, and I seem to have gone through these phases:

  • I’ve got a idea. Just start writing.
  • Hey, I just wrote ten thousand words. Awesome!
  • I have no idea what should happen next. I’ll go back and fill in events between the chapters I’ve written.
  • That’s better. Now the world doesn’t seem so empty.
  • You know, these scenes are okay by themselves, but there’s no sense of pacing that holds them together. Time for “two guys with guns.”
  • Ok, this world is getting a little complicated. I should organize my notes so I can keep track of what happens when.
  • This thing is nothing but a gigantic pile of plot threads.
  • Ooh, an antagonist! That’s what I was missing. Need to make him an obstacle, not totally evil.
  • My naming system for characters is all wrong. Time to come up with a new one.
  • Ok, I’ve got a reasonable foundation and good vision of the world. Now to advance the action.
  • Finally, I can see a possible path to the end. Time to write towards that and see what changes along the way.

There have been a few spots where I’ve needed to stop and organize my notes or research, but more than 95% of the time I’ve spent on this project has been putting down word count. My per-day average has dipped dangerously close to the 250 word barrier I set for myself back in April, but I feel like I’ve turned a corner in the last week or so. Of course, according to Chuck, I’ll likely hit another valley before Labor Day.

I guess I’ll just have to keep making the clackity noises.


Fitness: None
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 449 words, 328 seven-day average, 260 average, 28366 total, 366 past the goal for the week

Noir Meets Magic

I’m looking for touchstones of a genre, and I’m hoping you can help me find them.

A rough description of the novel I’m working on is “a private investigator in a fantasy world.”1 This is such a simple concept that it occurs to me that there must be other examples of this kind of book out there. And yet, I’ve been having trouble finding them. The Dresden Files aren’t quite what I’m going for, since their fantasy world is our own. The closest thing I’ve seen is Glen Cook’s Garrett, P.I. novels. Are there are other books I should be taking a look at?

1 My high concept pitch is Raymond Chandler meets Polaris.


Fitness: Ran 2.5 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 335 words, 231 seven-day average, 253 average, 25600 total, 400 to go for the week
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