Can You Do Better Than “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…”?

The temperature is falling fast. It's windy. There's snow in the rain that's splatting against the windows of my house.What is your neighborhood like on a dark and stormy night? If you were asked to describe it, what would you write? … [Read more...]

A (Temporary) Farewell to Film Review Work

On this day full of Oscar noise, I'm beginning a sabbatical from film reviewing, except for what I post here.I'm stepping down from my work at Image's Good Letters blog, from my (brand new) job at Reel Spirituality, and from all other review-related assignments outside of my day job at SPU. I do so out of necessity, and feel nothing but gratitude toward those who have encouraged me there.This will be the first time I've lived without film-review deadlines since, well... about 1997. … [Read more...]

From the Front Lines, November 29, 2011

I should be writing the new chapter of my new novel.But... … [Read more...]

Fingertips: Longhand Writing; Time-Based Pixel Painting; Beer; Richard Linklater; Leonard Cohen; Joe Henry; Kate Bush; G.K. Chesterton; and St. Vincent

Writing on a computer is like sprinting through a park; you can cover a lot of ground very quickly. But will you have much to say about the ground you covered, or the sights and sounds you passed along the way?I want to write about subjects that deserve close observation... the kind of "seeing" that can only happen when you're patiently strolling along the path. So I write my fiction longhand. It slows me down. I see more (and better) storytelling opportunities. When I rough-draft fiction on … [Read more...]

Come write with me.

Gregory Wolfe. David Dark. Julia Kasdorf. Jill Phillips. Andy Gullahorn. And me.At one of the most beautiful spots on earth.Ready to talk with you about your writing — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, songwriting — on a weekend retreat.Will you join us September 29?Read on for details about my workshop... … [Read more...]

For Kids Who Can’t Write Good

Can a good movie be made about bad writing? … [Read more...]

The scene on the sidewalk

The story is almost ready, but something's been missing.I've been searching for a scene. … [Read more...]

Who’s right?

So... I stumbled onto these two quotes within a few seconds of one another... … [Read more...]

Sitting up with my “dying friend.”

Annie Dillard in The Writing Life says: … [Read more...]

Name Your Elephant

Do you like chase scenes?This is a story about a chase. It's a pursuit that's lasted for years. It involves a mysterious red elephant. … [Read more...]