Author Archive

Fictional Writer Master Class: The Wisdom of J.B. Fletcher

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Writers love to create writer characters, so much so that fictional writers are their own sub-character set. Maybe it’s because we understand the torture of the artistic monkey better than anything else; creating fictional writers is one way of following the adage of writing what you know. Or perhaps we

The Revenge Society: The Plot Thickens

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 1 Comment
Nothing hits the literary palate with quite the delightful punch of a well-spun revenge story. Not the third-act, Scooby-Doo reveal that a killer did it all for revenge, or even the author’s personal vendetta against some person(s)—no, I’m talking of revenge plots where the actions unfurls around a quest

The Revenge Society

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 1 Comment
A few weeks ago, I was furious at someone on a level normally reserved for politics. For about three days I didn’t know how to defuse my anger; I just complained and ranted to any poor person who came within ear shot. It was eating at me, how much

A Novel Phobia: Treatment Plan

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While I may have given Graphobibliophobia a name, it would seem that it is a widespread affliction. Identifying it was the first step. Now, fellow Graphobibliophobes, what do we do about it? Traditional treatments for phobias include things like modeling, counter-conditioning, and exposure treatments. All of these involve confronting

A Novel Phobia: Diagnosis

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Most of my phobias have rational explanations and are probably quite common. My ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) can be attributed to a West Texas upbringing punctuated with rattlesnake avoidance education. The blame for my coulrophobia, fear of clowns, rests on the shoulders of Stephen King, Tim Curry, and John

Writing By Ear

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A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Margaret Atwood, during which, in response to a question about introducing students to literature, she emphasized the importance of storytelling. Not story reading. Storytelling. Stories are, she reminded us, “scores for the voice.” All those little

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 6: Save a Horse, Write a (Space) Cowboy

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Over the past few months, the Myth of the Literary Cowboy has explored how and why Willie was spot on when he observed that our “heroes have always been cowboys.” White hats, singers, anti-hero gunslingers, poets, pop music subjects—the role of the cowboy is part of the collective American pop culture

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 5: Cowboy Poetry

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“Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I’ve heard this phrase uttered by a number of people—students, coworkers, friends, academics, random drunk party guests—anytime I mention one of the following: wearing comfortable stilettos, being a vegan Texan, or enjoying cowboy poetry. The juxtaposition of those pairings proves too much for people to

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 4: Hi-yo Cowboy, Away!

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Back in December, before an afternoon showing of The Hobbit, I got my first glimpse of the trailer for the big budget adaptation of The Lone Ranger. Sitting there enjoying my smuggled in Diet Dr. Pepper was not the first time I’d run across the film—I had read some

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 3: Golden Years

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When I was an undergrad, I was constantly debating my Comp II nemesis, a film major who would say things like, “Americans didn’t really start making films until the 1970s.” Yes, he was that guy. Once during a film and literature genre discussion, talk turned to Westerns. My nemesis