Arachnid Vs Reptilian: The Thirst for Brutality in Controversial Topics

The fangs of a snake might seem to overpower the fangs of a spider, and on the surface it can appear as though the match is uneven.  But we can’t forget the impulsiveness of the snake and the patience of the spider.  And we must remember a black widow sits nicely on the tongue of […]

Read More

Being In’din 101: Where Native American Culture Meets Novel Writing

“There’s not much culture in this writing,” I’ve heard students say when critiquing student work or reading the novel of a Native author.  Or they’ll say, “It looks like the main character is having an identity crisis,” and it can sound dismissive, but there’s something we have to understand about most Natives:  We move deep […]

Read More

“How Awful Goodness Is”: Novel Writing from Unseen Places

One of my favorite lines in The Crow is when Eric (Brandon Lee) has T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly) duct taped to the drivers seat of his car, as its filled with explosives and aimed at a pier leading toward a harbor.  T-Bird can’t believe Eric has come back to life as The Crow and as […]

Read More

Main Character Slam, Drop, Kick!

Revision is a little punk b#?ch!  There I am toiling away on the second draft, almost to the end of the novel and starting to think about characters in the novel (mentally preparing for the “sweeps” portion of my revision process), and then I come to realize my main character is an asshole.

Read More

#1 Writing Rule: Be Teachable

We writers area equal parts ego and vulnerable.  The cliché is to develop a “tough skin” over the years and be able to take criticism.  But we all think we’re geniuses, and we are. Brilliant beasts who are magical at hiding our softest parts behind a shield of “I already know” and “You just don’t understand […]

Read More

Capricorn Mind on Structure and Writing Process

“I gotta keep my Capricorn mind straight,” said the planet of Saturn to the writer writing this post.  Okay, so that first sentence had a weird third person shift–almost like a third person shift to a different third person gear, but the first third person perspective was oddly different from the latter, which was equally bizarre but uniquely […]

Read More

The Magic of Intermountain Youth Center

I said it before.  The last grade I completed was the sixth grade.  Then later in life I went on to obtain a Master’s Degree.  I think a lot of it had to do with riding waves.  Not in the ocean.  I’ve never been daring enough to take on those types of challenges.  But riding waves […]

Read More

Tiny Trophies Alongside the Road

Getting bogged down in the muck is an artist’s nightmare.  You’ve done the initial work.  Maybe you painted the paintings, recorded the songs, or wrote the novels, and then you have to take the creation and offer it to world.  Just when you thought you were done.  There’s a million more hurdles.

Read More

Struggling Artists Unite!

So I’m about to rant.  I know…you’re saying to yourself, “Oscar, you always rant.”  But this is going to be a special kind of rant.  I’m going to unburden myself with all the reasons why artists need to be supported. In every way, emotionally and financially.  We don’t live in an age of benefactors!  If artists are […]

Read More

Proximity’s Unfortunate Consequence for Peripherals to the Writer’s Gaze

There you are enjoying the advantages of not being accountable and then a writer moves in next door.  At first you think, “Oh, this will be interesting…to have an artist type in the community,” and then you realize writers write.  More importantly, writers stand up for the weak, abused, and disadvantaged.

Read More

Drama Triangle: Enhancing Victimhood with Vengeance and Sacrifice

I don’t denounce structuralism.  Every time I watch a Disney or Pixar movie with my daughters and tears start welling up in my eyes by simple structural tactics, like music and camera angles, I’m reminded there is a reason it works.  But I’m a literary writer and we are defiant bastards and we like to […]

Read More