Learn four key skills to get you started in writing.

How to Be a Writer: Lesson 1 – Develop Intellectual Curiosity

htbaw1Intellectual curiosity is the most important skill you can develop as a writer. When you dig for the truth, you’ll uncover information that will make your writing more informative and interesting. You can challenge established (but untrue) assumptions. People will want to read your work because they can learn something new and see things differently. Intellectual curiosity will make you a better writer — and a better person overall.

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How to Be a Writer: Introduction

How to Be a Writer: IntroductionI started a new series that covers four key writing skills. These are skills I’ve developed over the years, and they have helped me become a better writer. If you’re starting off in writing, or if you want to improve your grades in your writing classes, this series is for you.

These skills apply to all types of writing. I’ve found them just as useful in technical writing and journalism as I have in creative writing.

Here are the four skills you should master:

Notice that I’m not covering the mechanics of writing, such as grammar, spelling, and composition. These are basic skills you need to learn, and there are plenty of places to develop them.

You can also find more information about writing on my site:

To get updates on when I post articles on this series, as well as articles on writing and daily table topic questions to help your impromptu speaking skills, follow me on Twitter. Good luck with your writing!

“We all have our ghosts.”

Robin Williams 1951-2014

Image credit: Google via Newslok.com

During beta 2 of The Ghosts of Reseda High, I will post spoiler-free commentary about issues and themes I cover in the book. This is the seventh and final post of the series. The survey is now closed, but you can still download the beta. Use the form on the download page to send any feedback you have.

This week, we had a sobering confrontation with death.

Much has been said about the death of Robin Williams. Some of it has been a much needed discussion about depression and suicide. Most of the talk is about the loss of a great talent, the appreciation of the creative work he has given us, and the regret that there won’t be any more. Unfortunately, others have used this tragedy as an opportunity to further their political or religious agendas or engage in “look at me” trolling.

Regardless of what has been said, it reveals more about ourselves than the person who died.

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In the Amazon-Hatchette dispute, the readers hold the power

Dueling letters from Amazon and Hatchett

Dueling Letters

Yesterday, I got a long email from Kindle Direct Publishing with the subject line “Important Kindle Request.” It was Amazon’s response to their conflict with Hatchette, which had published their own missive in response to Amazon. I could talk about what this conflict means to authors. Instead, I’d like to talk about what this means to me as a reader. (After all, both letters were addressed to us readers.)

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Why cover social issues in fiction?

The Ghosts of Reseda High Beta 2 on iPad.During beta 2 of The Ghosts of Reseda High, I will post spoiler-free commentary about issues and themes I cover in the book. This is the sixth of the series. The survey is now closed, but you can still download the beta. Use the form on the download page to send any feedback you have.

As you would imagine, The Ghosts of Reseda High is about teenagers and high school. (And possibly ghosts.) It also covers economic inequality, race, immigration, crime, drug abuse, the state of public education, and the aftereffects of genocide. Why is all that stuff in there? Can’t we have a nice coming-of-age story with karate or some kid who gets magically transported to King Arthur’s time?

It has to do with setting.

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