Hello, Stranger!

I’ve been so busy writing and teaching for LitReactor.com, I have completely neglected my own blog.  Contrary to appearances, I have been busy! I have contributed over 40 articles to LitReactor and even started teaching an online grammar class.

My articles on Grammar, Usage, Vocabulary, Craft, and few other random topics can be found on the site.  My most popular article to date is 10 Words You Literally Didn’t Know You Were Getting Wrong.

I also sponsor a monthly Flash Fiction contest on the site.  The winner of the July contest gets a copy of Chuck Palahniuk‘s new book–which isn’t coming out until October! You have until the 30th to enter, so get on it. Entries have a 25-word limit, so it’s easy to enter.

If you don’t win this month (of if you don’t enter this time), there is a new contest at the beginning of each month, so check back often.

I also teach a semi-regular Basic Grammar class for LitReactor. We just completed the last session in June, but another session is in the works. I’ll let you know. The class covers basic parts of speech, sentence structure, punctuation, usage, and the differences between style guides. It’s a fast and furious two-week intensive, but it’s cheap and it’s all online. So you can log in from anywhere anytime and be wearing anything (or nothing…I’ll never know!)

Other than that, I’ve been working like crazy. I now work as a technical writer and instructional designer for a Portland engineering firm. It’s very challenging work, and it’s given me a lot of great experience writing for the high-tech and business world. I find that even though the subject is not my area of expertise, the basics of good writing still hold true. It’s good practice–that’s for sure.

I’ve noticed I’ve gained a few new followers in the past few months. I apologize for my lack of content, but please do go check out my articles on LitReactor.com. It’s a great site, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Thanks for reading!

Trust Issues: A column about unreliable narrators on @LitReactor

Try as I might, I forgot sometimes to track my columns on LitReactor back here on my own blog (FAIL!), but thankfully, I remembered this time.

This article discusssed unreliable narrators and what makes them so much fun to write. This is a favorite topic of mine, so please check it out. Besides who else do you know that combines discussion of Robert Browing poetry with Al Pacino and Scarface. Enjoy!



Get Descriptive with me & C. Dickens on @LitReactor

Cover of "Bleak House (Vintage Classics)&...

Cover of Bleak House (Vintage Classics)

It’s my new favorite holiday…NaNoWriMo Day! Today is the day to kick off that novel you’ve been rolling around in your head for, well, EVER.

To help you reach your word count, check out my latest post on Litreactor.com about writing desciptive scenes. There is a GREAT scene from Charles DickensBleak House that’s perfect for this cold, foggy November morning (in Portland, OR, at least). That should really get you inspired!

C.D. was a master of description and you can be, too. Enjoy the latest installment, and don’t forget to play along!


New Post on @LitReactor – A Discussion of Nonlinear Narrative Structure

Little Red Riding Hood, illustrated in a 1927 ...

Image via Wikipedia

I almost forgot: LitReactor.com has published my latest craft column. I think it’s my best one so far. This time the topic is nonlinear narrative (which you might remember me posting about last year). I discuss use of this particular style in the new book from Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Good Squad, as well as movies like Memento. I also post an awesome short story, Continuity of Parks by Julio Cortazar, and I offer my own rendition (butchering?) of the classic fable Little Red Riding Hood.

And, as always, audience participation is encouraged!

Enjoy: http://litreactor.com/columns/out-of-order-a-discussion-of-nonlinear-narrative-structure

Cliffhangers – The literary kind, not the Stallone kind…well actually, a little Stallone & Durango!

Cover of "Cliffhanger (Collector's Editio...

Cover of Cliffhanger (Collector's Edition)

Hate a bad ending? Me too. There is NOTHING worse than a story that ends with pfffft! Instead of a BANG!

Read my latest installment at Litreactor.com on how to write better endings.

*IRONIC NOTE: The editors of LitReactor picked a shot of Stallone from the movie Cliffhanger, which incidentally and unbeknownst to the LitReactor editors, was filmed in my hometown—Durango, Colorado. Sweet!

Click here to read it! http://litreactor.com/columns/dont-leave-me-hanging