Fine Wine and Writing

I’m no expert on wine, but of course you know that fine wine just gets better with age (kind of like me, as I like to remind everyone I know!)

Nobody orders the freshest wine or the latest vintage, because it takes time for great wine to develop; It didn’t start great.

It reminds me a little bit of when I began writing. I had a great time and I treasure those early projects, but I like to think I’ve only gotten better since then.


In fiction, how do you fairly and without bias write a compelling character you deeply dislike?

You write fairly and without bias because you are so totally determined to not be unfair that in most cases you’ll go the other way and make that character better than he/she really is.

And you make that character compelling because to you, he/she is already compelling, in your mind, at least. Maybe not in a good way, but very, very compelling.

Which is probably why you are considering him/her as a character for your story.

What are tips you would share with someone wanting to write a fictional story?

There is a craft to writing short fiction:
  1. Learn how to put a story together. Take a class, read a book, do whatever it takes to learn the craft of telling a short story.
  2. Pretend that the story really happened. It should seem real to the reader, so it should also seem real as it is written.
  3. Put the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair, stare at your computer, and start writing. Don’t worry about whether your words are good or not, just get them written and don’t stop until you reach the end of the story.
  4. Now go back over those words and change them just enough to make the story flow. To make it interesting. To make the story seem real. Because the secret to writing good fiction is that it shouldn’t seem like fiction while it’s being read.

Is it better to get all of your ideas out and write a novel quickly, or to spend years in the process of curating the story and its elements?


Some writers work best slowly and carefully, deciding each and every element and making sure the whole things works together.

Others work best just sitting down and letting it all come out in one huge, whoosh.

It’s a personality thing, not a writer thing. So go with whatever works for you.

How does one begin writing a fantasy novel?

 Fantasy requires building a world that doesn’t exist but must live full-blown and realistic in the mind of the reader.
So the first thing a writer of fantasy must do — after creating the story and the characters, of course — is to create the world that the story and characters will live in and it must become so real in the writer’s mind that the story will fit perfectly in it and flow smoothly and seem as real as if the created, fantasy world is real.

How do I write realistic prehistoric dialogue?

So you make it up. Figure out how you think they spoke, what their accents were like, whether they talked like professors or peasants.

Which is a way of saying you go with your gut. And if your gut feeling about how they spoke and what words they used is good, then your readers will feel the same and will read their conversation as authentic.

What are your techniques to improve writing?

  1. Read, read, read. Because reading of any kind at all— anything at all — improves your world view and subconsciously teaches you how those writers did what they did. But reading in the genre you wish to write in gives you added insight into how to write that particular genre.
  2. Write, write, write. Because practice makes perfect and that applies to writing as much as to any other craft. But, again, writing in the genre you wish to aspire to teaches more specific skills than just writing in general because there are so many different kinds of writing that learning one doesn’t necessarily mean you can do other kinds as well.
  3. Learn, learn, learn. Because no one ever stops learning and writers well into their eighties and nineties still take classes and read how-to books and talk to each other about how to improve their craft. Not how to learn it but how to improve it.

Why don’t we write “I am going” instead of “I go?”

Most writers do write ‘I am going’ and for a very good reason.


Workshops always tell writers and would-be writers to use the active voice and that means writing ‘I go.’

But they also tell writers and would-be writers to write the way people actually speak and since most people say, ‘I am going’ most writers use that phrase.

So it works either way but if you ask me, always go with the way people actually speak.