The Under Ground Writing Project

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Writing a Series that Can Be Read Out-of-Order

Posted by Jenny Maloney on January 9, 2016 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (1)

**First published at Place for the Stolen

As a reader of mysteries (and, to a lesser extent, fantasies), one of the difficulties I run into is finding a series where I don't have to start at the beginning -- like if the library or bookstore doesn't have a copy of the number I need. And, sometimes I just wanna grab a book, read it, enjoy it, and not feel either guilty or unsatisfied because I "have to" wa...

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New Year, New Mentors: Tana French

Posted by Jenny Maloney on January 6, 2016 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

***Originally posted at Place for the Stolen***

Welcome 2016!!

New years are for new starts and I'm gonna kick of 2016 with a brand new batch o'mentors.

First up, we have Tana French!


Tana French is one of my very favorite authors. Based in Dublin, Ireland, ...

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Intellectual Lineage: Rocking Out vs. Writing Books

Posted by Oliver on June 24, 2015 at 12:20 PM Comments comments (2)

I spent the last few days reading the lists Rolling Stone magazine compiled enumerating their take on the hundreds best--the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Aside from making me feel cultured (I had heard of almost every artist and I had heard most of the five hundred greatest songs), anyway, aside from that, this stuff from Rolling Stone felt kind of annoyingly bland. It felt bland for the particular reason that it di...

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The Advantages of Keeping a Hand in

Posted by Oliver on June 19, 2015 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an ass, but he is an ass in a way that most experts are an ass: they can see all the advantages of their discipline better than they can see the strengths in other disciplines. Yeah, fine, that works perfectly well, right until expert Tyson starts inadvertently ragging on other people's disciplines.

He didn't on purpose, poor man. Old "Defender of Knowledge and Advocate of Free Thought" Tyson had his heart in the right place.

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Review of Stephen King's The Colorado Kid

Posted by Oliver on March 13, 2015 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The Colorado Kid succeeds at something I’m always trying to do. Now I know why people get annoyed with me when I’m trying to be “clever.”


Stephen King wrote this book allegedly because he was a fan of indie publisher, Hard Case Crime. They were about to go under, apparently, and he offered to write them up a book so they could say that they published a big author and use that to market their brand. It seemed to work for them.


My da...

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Originallity: If Possible, Should You Even Care?

Posted by Oliver on January 27, 2015 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (1)

A friend of mine reads avidly; good on to her. She reads only nonfiction; in itself, that isn’t bad. She explains why she only reads nonfiction with this question: aren’t you afraid that what you write will end up looking like what you read? She explains that reading all nonfiction avoids this difficulty.


I see her point. If I read too much of one author or too much in one style I notice myself making choices veering in favor of the intellectual drag caused by s...

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A Misunderstanding of Explication: Apologetics vs. Analytics

Posted by Oliver on January 23, 2015 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Last night I got asked an interesting question: Do you ever explicate your prose or poetry?

Initially, I misunderstood the question, but answered it anyway because I didn’t realize I had misunderstood it. When she explained what she meant, I answered that too. Here’s both answers.

When I misunderstood, I thought my friend meant, “Do you ever explain your writing?” My answer to that was, no, I try not to. She asked why, and I gave a t...

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And Another Thing...

Posted by Debbie Meldrum on May 3, 2014 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I learned aboutwriting from my critique group.


5. Listen to all the feedback.


Even if you disagree. Violently.


This can be a hard one--it is for me. But even if you don't agree with the feedback, you should listen. Because something didn't work for that person. It may be a style thing, which you don't want to change. But the thing is, what they may have given as the reason in the critique may not be the real cause of their discontent w...

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What I Learned About Writing From . . .

Posted by Debbie Meldrum on April 15, 2014 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Critique Groups

I have been a member of three different critique groupsover the past 12 or so years. Which, I hear, makes me pretty lucky. Somewriters bounce around a lot more than that. I met all the members of my second,Creek Writers Council, at the first one, Colorado Springs Fiction WritersGroup. Right now I’m working one on one with another person who was a member ofboth of my previous groups. Many lessons were picked up along the way...

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Pop Culture and Ghost Stories

Posted by Oliver on January 11, 2014 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

If my writer friends and acquaintances reflect the opinions of the average writer at all then the average writer wants to write significant works. Significant, of course, has different levels: there are the writers who want to be the next Great Author like Hemingway or Kerouac and write "important" work that'll be taught in college some day. Some people want to be the next Chandler or Lovecraft and leave a memorable and milieu-inspiring impact on the world. Some want to be the next Gaiman or ...

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