Category Archives: Writing / Storytelling

Write better loglines with

A logline is a short, ideally one sentence, description of a script or story. It’s intended to actively capture the attention of the reader and compel them to read the story.

The skill of writing an effective logline is just that, a skill. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t come naturally (at least for me). But thankfully it is one that can be learned. Do a Google search for “What is a logline” and you’ll see a bunch of resources defining a logline and claiming to be able to teach you how to write a logline that sells.

In my experience, there’s no better way to learn how to do something new than to familiarize myself with how NOT to do it.

And that’s what’s great about Several loglines are posted each day by community members, and you can read them and learn from them. And believe me, there is no shortage of examples of how not to write a logline. But what’s better is that there are also some pretty good ones that turn up here and there.

Currently, I just lurk there, but the community encourages folks to submit their own loglines and to critique those submitted by other members.

It’s a great living resource for learning a critical aspect of writing, convincing others that your story is worth reading.


The Comics Journal Interviews Cartoonist Chris Ware

From an interview in The Comics Journal:

Filmic language sort of took over comics in the 1940s and ’50s with adventure strips. I think that thinking of the panel as a camera is really…well, it’s one way of doing it, certainly, but the advantage of being a cartoonist is that you are not looking out into the world to make your work, you’re looking into yourself. So if you think of the panel as something that you are looking through, then it’s kind of a backwards way of thinking about it. If you’re going to use the innovations of film directors to communicate emotion then you’re just falling back on a crutch that I think is not specific to the medium in which you are working. So I was trying to find other ways of communicating things that were more endemic to comics.

It’s interesting to get a little insight into Ware’s unique style and worldview.

Planning for Pacing in your story

I’m starting to become very conscious of pacing in my writing.

Now, pacing in my work is a serious problem because with The Winchcombe, I’m publishing one page of my story at a time. I need to pay special attention to how much I skip around in the narrative, how much I rehash of what’s come before, and at what emotional level I end a particular scene.

And I just couldn’t do that if I didn’t have nearly every scene at least plotted out. If I were writing this project by the seat of my pants, I would end up with a logistical train wreck, like I have going on over here.

Yet another argument for the planning of stories. As Larry of will tell you:

You pantsers are gonna hate this.  But the truth is, you can’t pants pace.

But you can plan for it.

The pacing of your story is very much like analyzing the flow of the blueprint for a building that hasn’t been constructed yet.  You look at the relationships between the parts – chapters and scenes for writers, hallways and rooms for architecture – and determine if the sequence and proportions are in balance, if they are optimized for flow and feel, not to mention structural integrity and aesthetic beauty, and you make adjustments accordingly


Slightly Random Thoughts About Story Pacing… From 10,000 Feet

Interview with Terry Pratchett

Interview with Terry Pratchett by Aida Edemariam of The Guardian. He talks about his newest book, writing with Alzheimer’s, and the politics of assisted suicide, amongst other interesting things.

I Shall Wear Midnight, a young adult novel, was launched in central London at midnight on Tuesday, but, as has been the way throughout a career that has so far produced 50 novels (38 of them set on Discworld) and generated more than 65m book sales – Pratchett is already 60,000 words into the next book.

And for the last two and a half years, ever since he was diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of Alzheimer’s, and lost the physical ability to write, he has dictated those words into voice-recognition software. At first, in fact, he talks to me about the machine as if I am a machine (which is not entirely unwarranted: there is a tape recorder sitting on the table between us). “… And the nice thing is, contrary to what you might initially expect, comma” – we both burst out laughing – “yes, sorry about this, full stop.”


Terry Pratchett: ‘I’m open to joy. But I’m also more cynical’

Dealing with criticism: if it doesn’t hurt a little, it’s probably worthless

Lots of good stuff is going up over at lately that’s right in line with what I’m trying to figure out and get better at.

I really like this sample critique that Larry Brooks did for a writer. This is a service that Brooks provides, and I’d say that it’s a valuable one, especially if you don’t have anyone who your letting really dig into your work for you. And I think it’s rare that you’d find someone willing to go this far into your stuff in your own backyard.

Read the critique and analysis. Imagine how hard it must have been for that writer to endure the tearing down of his work. The repeated “you have potential” just wouldn’t be enough of a warm fuzzy to offset the systematic dissection of his story. But I guess the lesson is that you need to be able to get kicked in the face, smile, and really try to see how that kick was actually helpful in some way.

And I think that the writer being analyzed would agree that this document is very helpful.


An Intimate Look at One Writer’s Feedback

The Friday Cool:’s collected ‘The best articles ever’ for you to read

You must check out this collection of links to what’s touted as the best articles ever written. From

This is a work in progress. It is a on-going list of suggestions collectively made by readers of this post. At this point the list has not been vetted or selected by me. In fact, other than the original five items I suggested, all of the articles mentioned here have been recommended by someone other than me. (Although I used to edit Wired magazine none of the article from Wired were suggested by me or anyone who worked at Wired. I also did not suggest my own pieces.)

I forget who pointed me here, and I only just got around to taking a look at some of the linked magazine articles here, but I think this is a text-book definition of ‘goldmine’ for wannabe writers looking for samples and examples of top-shelf writing.

These are big, meaty chunks of non-fiction from well known magazines ranging from the ’60s to the ’10s.

My Instapaper account is going to be filling up pretty quick here.


Cool Tools – The Best Magazine Articles Ever