And He Went A-Tumblin'

Late last night I went downstairs and my foot slipped on one of the steps and I took a hard tumble. Luckily the ground broke my fall. It wasn't a bad fall, per se, but I was laid out on the ground for a good few minutes just staring up at the ceiling. And, as I happened to have my phone with me, I of course tweeted about it. What lady and what commercial?


No, not that lady. This lady.


Yes, after taking a tumble down the stairs, all you can really think about at first is Where's the beef?

Anyway, you have less than three days left to enter the Hint Fiction contest, so do it to it.

If you were putting off purchasing The Calling because 99 cents was just too much, well, I'm sorry to say the price has gone up to $2.99. That was, of course, what was meant by an introductory price. Also $2.99? The Dishonored Dead, which already has a five-star review up at Amazon (thanks, A.M. Donovan!).

I haven't really had a chance to thank everyone who "attended" my live reading the other week. I hope you enjoyed it. It was fun, but, as it was my first time, there were some technical issues, namely that for some reason comments weren't coming through and that I had completely forgotten about Ustream's chat option. If I ever do something like this again -- and I probably will -- I hope to make it much smoother and more entertaining (and will, despite their rambunctiousness, have the pets back). In the meantime, I want to address a question that was asked by Horace Torys:

Can you talk about taking your stories from a concept to making an outline, planning scenes, writing the thing out, etc.?

The simple and easy answer is no, because mostly I don't outline or plan scenes out, at least on paper. Usually a story idea will pop in my head, or a character, or even a first line or story title, and I'll mull it over for a few days or weeks or months or even years before I finally sit down to write it. By that time I have most of the story planned in my head, or at least have an idea of what the story is about. It's like what Harlan Coben once said when writing a novel: "I don't outline. I usually know the ending before I start. I know very little about what happens in between. It’s like driving from New Jersey to California. I may go Route 80, I may go via the Straits of Magellan or stopover in Tokyo … but I’ll end up in California."

The same applies with me, because I almost always know what the main story will be, but different things might occur along the way. Then again, there are exciting moments like the one I had with The Dishonored Dead, as I had originally planned for it to be a novella, but at one point a very minor character appeared, a simple janitor hanging in the background for no good reason, and it wasn't apparent why until a few chapters later -- and that created a whole new conflict and ended up changing my novella into a full-fledged novel. That never would have happened had I stuck to an outline.