December 19th, 2016

Believe in Your Work – It’s More Important Than You Think

James Preston

“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

We’ll come back to that in a minute.

Story is important. What we do is important. My guess is you believe that or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. I had that knowledge driven home one year on vacation.

Welcome to another installment of […]

August 31st, 2016

Three Tools For Reading and Watching Popular Fiction

James Preston

Once upon a time my wife and I were sitting up late at night, reading. She had a romance novel, I probably had something by Heinlein or Asimov or Andre Norton. Suddenly, she yelled, “Arrrrrgh!” Or maybe it was “Gaaaah!” And she threw the paperback across the room, bouncing it off the wall, […]

April 1st, 2016

“Is The Music Bad, Mommy?”

James Preston

Tips for doing Bad Things to Your Characters.

As I write this I am watching an old episode of CSI. Ray Langston, (Laurence Fishburn) is testifying in the trial of a psychotic who stabbed him. It is an excruciating series of scenes, definitely not for the faint of heart.

As a child when […]

December 16th, 2015

Three Reasons to Believe in Your Work

“Disneyland! That’s the answer.” (Fiction 101 — Drop your reader into the action immediately.)

My wife and I went to Disneyland recently. The trip was fun, of course, but it was also a revelation. Suddenly, Nancy turned to me and said, “The essay you are working on for Writers in the Storm! This is it! […]

September 16th, 2015

TV Series Binge Watching–A Study in Character Development

James Preston

In Back to the Future, Marty McFly’s mother’s kid brother asks “What’s a re-run?”

Marty replies, “You’ll find out.”

Pop quiz: What was on TV when Marty said that?

I am old enough to remember that if I missed an episode of “77 Sunset Strip” (BTW if in your mind you heard the […]