Outlining in Reverse


This recent article on outlining and not-outlining works of fiction is quite good. I’ve had similar problems with the outlining process exhausting all my interest in a particular story. The solution? Outline in reverse, as the title says. Here are a few bon mots (“good sayings”) from the writer, Aaron Hamburger (The View From Stalin’s [...]

Creator versus Shaper


Some thoughts on the role of an artist working on a new project, from video game auteur developers Ice Pick Lodge: …True creative work is not about self-expression and making stuff up, it’s about finding a right shape for a story that exists objectively, outside the artist’s head. This story and the underlying problem constitute [...]



When writing essays, avoid filler. Many college students are still in the habit of introducing essays with a lot of this: “We all know that topic X is [very general definition], and X is really interesting, isn’t it? It’s interesting in a bunch of ways. None of which relate to my thesis.” Instead of this [...]



Always carry a notebook on you. Every time you have an idea, jot it down—no matter what. You will never regret having a small notebook with you. Moleskine makes beautiful small black notebooks, and Rhodia fine small orange ones. But I much prefer the rye-brown Muji variety. I only buy spiral-bound notebooks without lined pages, [...]

H. P. Lovecraft’s Advice to Young Writers


Seminal cosmic horror writer H. P. Lovecraft published this article on writing (“Literary Composition”) in the January, 1920 issue of The United Amateur. There are some useful and some hilariously archaic-sounding thoughts in this, and one section in particular stands out among the former. Here, HPL puts names and concise definitions to three abstract dimensions of fiction writing that [...]