ADVENTURES IN NaNoWriMo LAND

By Brian Kaufman In 1999, freelance writer Chris Baty started National Novel Writing Month, gathering 21 San Francisco participants to attempt a singular goal—to write a novel in one month. Having realized the limitations of a July event, Baty moved the second year’s festivities to November to “take advantage of the miserable weather.” The secondContinue reading ADVENTURES IN NaNoWriMo LAND

Thoughts on Criticism

By Brian Kaufman Writers compose in a vacuum. The voices they hear are in their heads. Imagination has benefits, both for mental health and creative purposes. According to neuroscientists, people have “default networks” in their brains that become active (and are exercised) when they drift into the realm of imagination. In addition, storytelling allows anContinue reading “Thoughts on Criticism”

The Books That Made Me

By Brian Kaufman Along the lines of “everything happens for a reason,” my wife believes that everything that happens and everyone you meet is there to teach you something. I don’t argue with that—if you care to learn from your experiences, you will. The other thing to know is that I have read many booksContinue reading “The Books That Made Me”

Do What I Say, Not What I Did

By Brian Kaufman In a previous blog post, I admitted to blocking an editor at the entrance to the men’s room to sell him my first novel. He suffered the pitch, and I left with his business card in my wallet. No surprise that this was not my only embarrassing writer’s conference story. Lest you feel compelledContinue reading “Do What I Say, Not What I Did”

Genre Tropes And Expanding Horizons

By Brian Kaufman My wife and I carpooled with a friend on the way to a writer’s conference. The conversation turned to our chosen genres. My friend wrote fantasy, so my wife—an ardent reader—began asking about favorite authors. Fantasy was not a genre she often enjoyed, but she knew a fantastic number of writers in the field.Continue reading “Genre Tropes And Expanding Horizons”

Believable Characters: The Commandments of Dramatis Personae

By Brian Kaufman You might already be scanning ahead to read my Ten Commandments. Don’t. This isn’t about what I think. It’s about prodding you to define how you think about your characters (and, by extension, your understanding of human nature).

The Paradox of Fiction

By Brian Kaufman Years ago, I came home from work to find my wife fussing in front of the refrigerator. I asked what was wrong, and she told me that the quart of milk she’d just purchased was missing. In cases like this, I’d learned to speak to my five-year-old daughter first. Tiger was oftenContinue reading “The Paradox of Fiction”