yourbrojesus said: I'm in the process of writing my first ever full-out story, that I'm actually dedicated to. I want to know how much I should write before I get the ball rolling on the plot? It's about a kingdom, so should I explain about that even if it's not relevant to the main plot?


If it’s your first draft, stop worrying. Put down what you need to put down on paper, whether it’s information or action. Breathe. It’s hard to let go, but you have to get that first draft before you move on.

If you’ve got your first draft, first of all, relax and throw a party. Second, take a pen and some paper, and take some notes. Here are the questions you (and anyone) should ask yourself about the setting:

  • How much does your reader need to know? Is the day-to-day kingdom function essential for the plot? How much of the kingdom does the main character deal with? Find the essential bits of information. If you have a detailed ceremony that has no connection to the plot (or the characters, or some emotional necessity), you may have to cut it out.
  • What can you leave out? The second most important question, you need to figure out what the reader doesn’t need to know. This is harder than the first, because it all seems important to you. You’ve worked so hard on it, and cutting things out hurts. It’s okay to feel like this. If you need a second opinion, get it. Some people will be able to tell what’s not necessary more than you can. Trust your instincts.
  • What can be shown, not told? If you have customs, describe people doing them, don’t just list that they’re there. If there’s a hierarchy or class structure, write out how it effects people, and what they do because of it.
  • What needs to be told? You can’t show everything, especially when creating your own world. History sometimes needs to be told. Relationships sometimes need to be told. Again, trust your instincts. You’ll be able to figure this out better if you go with what feels right. Remember, you can always fix it in editing!

I’m always thrilled to read a book that is satisfying inside and out. Sandy Longhorn’s second full length collection is a perfect example of that. From the beautiful cover to the well written (and well laid out) poems inside, you can’t go wrong with this collection. I won’t go into extensive analysis here because I’m still thinking about and re-reading several of the poems (also the blurbs are SPOT ON), but I will single out at least one poem: Midwest Nursery Tales which (if you click through) you can read online along with some other selections from the book. Enjoy! And, then pick up a copy :)

1-4-14 Themed book sale!

I haven’t posted a book sale in a while, but reference this post and you can order one of the following books from me for 4 themed pricing:

- chapbook An Amateur Marriage for $4
- chapbook Fat Girl for $8
- book MORPH for $12

These are great discounts and I’ll even throw in free shipping.

Email me at

I’m neither a parent nor particularly a follower of the punk scene, but this was still a really interesting documentary. 

If I have to be cold at least there’s a nice view :)

If I have to be cold at least there’s a nice view :)

I’m so honored that I had a poem selected for the Eastern NC edition of the Literary Trails of North Carolina trilogy. I’ve read ports of the Piedmont and Mountain issues so I need to finish them, but I couldn’t wait to go through this edition - to see the roads of my childhood through a new set of eyes. Even without the books (which are great though! And there are digital issues), the website has some terrific resources for the literary in NC. Enjoy!

Apparently I’m finishing up a terrific stack of anthologies as 2013 ends and 2014 begins. I was thrilled to be included in the Best of Pirene’s Fountain Anthology along with so many fantastic writers. As I read through it I found so many familiar names, and I noted I was particularly drawn to the prose poems like “The Weatherman’s Broken Promise” by CJ Sage which starts, “It did not flurry at the beach and that’s okay—I talked someone into sending me a snowball.” That’d be pretty easy to do in the Northeast right now with the terrible cold weather :) Consider ordering a copy!

I’m pleased to announce that I’m reopening my freelance assisting business for 2014. Please feel free to submit job requests and/or questions via this form. And share!