Red Ax, page 1 detail

Red Ax: Who Are Your Characters?

This is part of an article series I’m writing about my upcoming comic book, Red Ax. Writing has always been an act of discovery for me. I devise a scenario, populate it with characters, and add layers of plot and complication. The characters begin as cocktail party acquaintances. I can slot them into big buckets: the strong and silent type, the quiet and broken type, the brash and greedy type. As I write, they become friends. I learn why […]

Launching a Comic: Red Ax

Launching a Comic: Red Ax

Many years ago, I had an idea for a comic book, and the idea stuck. It grabbed onto a corner of my mind, whispering ideas, until finally I wrote it down. Within a few days, I’d written a comic book script good for 13double-sidedpages. It’s weird. It whispered a story about anthromorphic cats in a quasi-medieval, quasi-Arabian, quasi-Asianworld, focusing on a mutesword-for-hireand a slave. It needed an artist. I didn’t have the skills. Now what? Fortune favored me. Through […]

I have Walked the Deserts with Aurens

I have Walked the Deserts with Aurens

One advantage of a client with stringent child care requirements: she leaves at 4:30pm, so we’re done, thank you. I drove from the client site back to my hotel along highways that have become familiar over the past few days. I wonder how comfortable I’ll be driving around foreign cities a few months from now when I’ll be doing this alone. The weather certainly won’t be this […]

What publishers will look like in 20 years

It’s hardest to see the future when the present is shifting so much. However, we can see clearly if we look at fundamentals and clearly understand the nature of change. There are 3 major individuals or groups involved in book publishing: Authors (usually one person, the creator) Publishers (which include a long chain of people, which all process the author’s work) Distributors (who get processed books to readers) Electronic […]

Giant Armors, Ikimasu!

About six months ago, I stepped away from my novel series, Giant Armors. I couldn’t see a way forwards, and worried that I was pushing forward on a stale idea. These things can die. I spent the past six months concentrating on other things. I knew that I needed time for my brain to breathe, to work on different problems, so it could approach Giant Armors again with a fresh perspective. I looked back at the series […]

Bird By Bird

The toughest part of writing is to keep writing. It’s easy to type merrily away when inspiration strikes. Ideas flow! Characters pop out of one’s forehead, full-formed! The question is, will you write the next bit tomorrow? And more the day after? And again next week? An 80,000-word novel is a Frankenstein’s monster of tiny […]

The New Thing

The idea leapt into my brain and grew rapidly. I’ve no idea, even now, where it came from. I do remember tweeting about it on 27 August. As is usual with ideas, it was a synthesis of several things I’d seen recently and several things I like. I imagined a character like Max in The […]

614 Words of a Rough Draft of the First Giant Armors Novel

“We’ve had a stroke of luck,” Toreas said. “Someone reported some suspicious activity near Roc Sarat, a ruined fortress not that far from here. Turns out, a lot of carts have been going in and out, some containing weapons. We think this is a major storehouse for the rebels. You all will attack it today. […]

How to Critique Fiction

I’m just back from writer’s group, in which I received critiques on a fantasy short story of mine. Scott, the critiquer, always gives great critiques. Here’s why: He’s detailed. As he writes, if anything strikes him as strange, out-of-place, or awkward, he immediately notes it in the margins. This is incredibly valuable, as I try […]


Let me tell you about Ratliff. Stephen Ratliff wrote fanfic (fan-written stories) about Star Trek: The Next Generation. I have nothing against fanfic. Most of it is bad, but most of anything is bad (Sturgeon’s Law). Fanfic’s a good training ground for writers. Ratliff’s stuff, in comparison, was cheesy in a way that rivalled the […]

I work for Amazon. The content on this site is my own and doesn’t necessarily represent Amazon’s position.