What Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Books Say About Us

For years, I’ve been wondering why dystopian and post-apocalyptic books are so popular, especially with teens. Personally, I love reading these books. I also enjoy writing them. Now, I’m generally a very optimistic person who believes we can create a good future. So what is it about corpse-ridden zombie-sucking industrial wastelands that appeals so much […]

Making Things Worse by Making Them Better

Writers talk a lot about provoking characters to transform by making things worse and worse for them until they’re exhausted, and are left with no choice but to change. That’s what stories are usually about in a nutshell: transformation in the face of adversity. It’s the old “hurt the hero” game. As Star Trek and […]

The One Thing I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Creating Characters

There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about characters. Do you make them quirky and unusual (like Amelia Bedelia), or more ordinary  (like Charlie Brown)? Do you make them heroic (someone readers might aspire to be, like Atticus Finch), or deeply flawed (like FH in Jesus’s Son)? Do you make them raw and human […]