Bill's blog. Writing, guitars, gratuitous Simpsons references, you'll find i​t all here. Almost certainly a waste of time for both you and the author. On the internet, that's actually a plus.

New column: Only 45 Shopping Days Until NaNoWriMo!

photo by grapefruitmoon

Check out my new Hacks for Hacks column, fresh from the oven: Only 45 Shopping Days Until NaNoWriMo! Here's an excerpt:

We’re halfway through September, which means it’s almost October, better known as Secretly Start Working on your NaNoWriMo Novel Month. You probably know it by its acronym, SSWOYNANOWRIMONNOMO (which, by coincidence, is also a curse in a long-forgotten tongue, so don’t say it out loud lest you fall into the dreamless sleep of a thousand years, which will wreck your daily word count). Here’s the thing: Nobody is going to stop you from starting your NaNoWriMo novel early. Yes, I know the NaNoWriMo songs and stories about what happens to early starters, but we’re adults here. We can admit that Halifax the October Hobgoblin won’t steal all the vowels from your keyboard; that the Dropbox Gremlin isn’t going to replace entire chapters of your book with its erotic haiku while you sleep; and that the Eternal Editor will not demand you rewrite the entire manuscript if you ever want to see your doggo alive again. 

New column: How to give a literary reading

My new Writer Unboxed column is live today. The topic: How to give a literary reading, which you probably gathered by the title of this blog post. Anyway, here's an excerpt:

Before the Reading

  • Eat a healthy and delicious breakfast that morning.Choose wisely, as this is what you’ll be throwing up later due to your crippling stage fright.
  • Set the stage. Arrive at the venue early and get a lay of the land. Check if there will be a microphone or lectern or what-have-you. Look for opportunities for cool visuals, such as a blown-up picture of your book cover, or a big poster of your face like in Citizen Kane. Queue up some entrance music. Walking up to the mic through misty clouds from your smoke machine to the tune of “Rock You Like a Hurricane” will let your audience know that a serious author is taking the stage.
  • Choose the right piece to read. You’ll want something people can follow without you having to explain a bunch of backstory beforehand. The beginning of your book is a good choice. An exception to this rule is if you’re reading the first chapter of a sequel–to make sure people know what’s going on, be sure to read the climax of your previous book first.

New column: Please do not support my Patreon

Have you heard of Patreon? It’s a company that empowers crowd-sourced patronage of the arts, including but not limited to authors. By pledging monthly support at one of various patronage tiers, each with its own level of perks and rewards, you’re able to support your favorite writers directly. I have recently started my own, and it is my fondest wish that your patronage does not include me.

Read more at Writer Unboxed.

New column: "The Social Contract for Writers" at WriterUnboxed

photo by Steve Snodgrass

photo by Steve Snodgrass

Check out my new column, "The Social Contract for Writers" at Writer Unboxed. Part of the social contract is reading my column, so, you know, you'd better get started. Here's an excerpt:

  • Buy your friends’ books. Buying a peer’s book is a sign of professional respect. Buying the cheaper ebook version is a sign of being a savvy shopper.

  • No jealousy allowed. Celebrate friends’ successes! Rather than seethe with envy, better to remind them that without help from good people like yourself, they’d be nothing. NOTHING.

Read the whole thing here.

Check out "Low-tech Tools for Writers," my new column at Writer Unboxed

photo by Richard Gustin

It's column time again! This month's edition: "Low-tech Tools for Writers."

Are your gadgets and gizmos getting in the way of your writing? I've got some ideas. Good ideas. GREAT ideas.

The Typewriter: The older, the heavier, the more beat-up, the better. The main thing is you want it to be LOUD; when you type, it should sound like an army of spooky skeletons are storming your front door. This has the added bonus of scaring away any roving bands of skeletons, who are very territorial and don’t like to move in on another skeleton gang’s territory.

Some good-quality paper: Show people you mean business by buying some heavy bond in brilliant, gleaming white. Paper so white, it hurts to look at. Paper so white, it’s pronounced “HHWHITE!” Paper so white, if it gives you a paper cut, the cops will let it off with just a warning.

Read the whole thing here.

New column: "How to sign books like a big-shot author"

photo by Marcin Wichary

photo by Marcin Wichary

Hey! I've got a new column up at Writer Unboxed: "How to Sign Books Like a Big-shot Author." Here's an excerpt:

Method 1: The Squiggle

The ink should flow from your pen like the wine flowed down your gullet when you wrote your book. I don’t mean that literally–we don’t want the pen to explode, you lush! Just put some oomph into it while you’re signing. If you do it right, your signature should match your polygraph readout when someone asks you how many books you’ve sold.

Go read the whole thing here.



New Column: How to Plan Your 2017 Writing Agenda

photo by Jacob Haas

photo by Jacob Haas

Check out my new column at Writer Unboxed, "How to Plan Your 2017 Writing Agenda." Here's an excerpt:

April: Set aside the first half of the month to do your taxes for all the books you sold last year. If you didn’t sell many (or any) books, reserve this time for crying softly in the dark. You can spend the second half of the month finishing the novel draft you were supposed to finish in March.
May: You’re not really used to planning things this far in advance. I mean, they could have flying cars and faster-than-light travel by then! There’s a good chance they’ll have a device that can extract the words for your novel directly from your brain.
June: The rejection letters from those short stories you sent out in March should start arriving. Spend the rest of the month in an coffee-fueled anxiety attack and revise each piece until it’s barely recognizable. That way, maybe someday someone, somewhere, will finally love you.

Now go read the whole thing. I mean, if you want to, I didn't mean that as a command or anything. But you totally should.

How to Plan Your 2017 Writing Agenda

Award Eligibilty Post 2016

Hello! Here's my year-end post about my work that's eligible for awards. It's just one story this year, but it's a good one that I like very much: My Enemy, the Unicorn, published in Unidentified Funny Objects 5. Please enjoy this short excerpt:

Snowflake had been Jax Zoo's lone unicorn since his mate, Raindrop, broke her leg. Scuttlebutt was that the zookeepers had used their gun on her, then split the carcass between the griffins, tigers, and bears. This had come from Lily and her friends, though, and they were full of shit half the time, and at least half-full all of the time. They told Chad all sorts of things, like if he'd been taken to any other state, he'd have rights as a person, but like most creatures of arcane genetics and questionable legality, he'd ended up in Florida.

New column: "Bob Dylan’s Nobel-Prize Worthy Advice to Writers"

photo by Xavier Badosa

photo by Xavier Badosa

My new column is up at Writer Unboxed: "Bob Dylan’s Nobel-Prize Worthy Advice to Writers."

“When I start writing a song, I like to put together a real detailed outline first. Then I hand it over to some freelancers I know from the advertising business, and they hash out the chords and the lyrics while I cruise down to the club for a quick nine holes. Much more efficient this way. Production is up 23% this quarter. The market needs product, man. Gotta feed the beast.”

Go read the whole thing here.