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 […]

April 8th, 2015

Reading as a Writer — Is It Different?

James Preston

When I was growing up I read a lot.

I had a pattern, a way that I approached books that just evolved sort of on its own. I’d read for a while, get to a really good part and then go off and do something else, something mindless. Often I’d dig a hole. […]

December 1st, 2014

Writing Conference Wisdom: A Whirlwind of Speed Dating

James Preston

We write to entertain, to share our experience, or because we have a story that simply must be told. But it’s not easy. Let’s be honest. If you studied piano for the same number of hours you put into your writing you could at least pound out “Jingle Bells” at the company […]