The Road

It’s been a long time coming. When I first heard Cormac McCarthy‘s brilliant novel The Road was being developed as a film, I noted the release date on my mental calendar and held my breath. That was back in early 2008. When the movie finally did get released more than a year and a halfContinue reading “The Road”

The hardest thing about writing

I’m preparing one of my novels for submission, and I’m writing a synopsis.  I hate synopses.  Like all prejudice, it’s an irrational loathing–I always feel like I’m crushing the story, stripping away the beauty and leaving just a skeleton, and I can’t help but think that if people want to know what a book isContinue reading “The hardest thing about writing”

Barry Hannah

Barry Hannah will leave a gaping hole in literature.  His influence on my own work is strangely subtle and roundabout (I know him more for his influence on others–especially Tom Franklin–than for anything else), but when I think about the stories I’ve read, I realize how deeply effective they were.  For all the brashness ofContinue reading “Barry Hannah”

A Writer’s Notebook: Revision

I’m chest deep in a revision of my novel right now, but I’m also reading Alice Munro, who makes me want to work on short fiction. So I figured this week, I’d put my hands together and do a revision exercise on one of my long-problematic short stories. Because this is slightly complicated, I’m goingContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Revision”

Research tip #5: Shop the catalogue

For more on researching for fiction, go to the main research page.  I’ve written about this before, but just to recap: Tom Franklin hates doing research. Yet his first two novels were historical fiction, which stuck Franklin doing the very thing he hates. Still, Franklin prefers to focus on the writing, to let the fictionContinue reading “Research tip #5: Shop the catalogue”

Research tip #4: Shoot the bullet

For more on researching for fiction, go to the main research page.  A few years ago, I was at the big national conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and a friend of mine, Tom Franklin, was on a panel discussing research in fiction. Franklin joined the panel by virtue of his historicalContinue reading “Research tip #4: Shoot the bullet”

It was a dark and stormy writer’s block….

A long time ago, when I was a nerd in high school, I hung out with a bunch of other nerds in high school and we played role playing games. You know the bit Mike Myers did on his 2001 appearance on Inside the Actors Studio, with one eye crossed and speaking in a lisp asContinue reading “It was a dark and stormy writer’s block….”

Researching fiction (NaNoWriMo update #3)

For more on researching for fiction, go to the main research page.  Here I am at the end of day 8 of NaNoWriMo.  My current total word count is 25,504. I know that makes it seem I’ve spent every waking moment of the past week writing, but really, I’ve managed to work in more thanContinue reading “Researching fiction (NaNoWriMo update #3)”

Y’all is from where?: Texas regionalism

This is LONG overdue, but since my last post, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about regionalism and my identity as a writer. This has been an ongoing internal discussion for me, but lately, as my friends list expands in Facebook and I reconnect with old pals from across the state of Texas but especiallyContinue reading “Y’all is from where?: Texas regionalism”

The Hill Country Years

I’ve spent the last few days running around my old home town, taking pictures and scribbling notes, overtly to document scenes in some of my stories and to refresh memories I rely on for my fiction, but also, I admit, just to relive some of my childhood. It’s a weird feeling, really, because I spentContinue reading “The Hill Country Years”