the creative process tagged posts

The Longest Way Down: the process

November 24, 2016 Writing  One comment

Anthony's story had been percolating in the back of my mind ever since The Charm Necklace. 

I had some ideas. I knew that he would find a girl standing on the ledge of a building about to jump. That he would try to save her by taking her on a road trip. That he would try to save himself by saving her. I knew that he had issues. That she had issues. That they would go to the Grand Canyon. 

I totally had this plan where I was going to follow this writing process called The Snowflake Method. There's like twelve steps where you completely flesh everything out prior to writing a word. You know what's going to happen where, why, in detail. 

So I started by doing a month of research prior to writing. I wanted to do both character's mental states

Read More

The Longest Way Down: the inspiration

November 17, 2016 Writing  No comments

May 2013    I saw The Place Beyond the Pines. It's a mediocre indie film where Ryan Gosling plays this stunt motorcycle rider covered in tattoos (no, I didn't really buy it either). In the film, he has a teenage son. I don't remember the particulars, but I just remember being so struck by how lost this boy was. He looked so sad and broken, like he was just trying to find his way.

Would he find his way? What would that look like? Could another person, a girl, save him?

The spark was lit. 

December 2013    Started listening to Twenty One Pilots album Vessel. Fell in love with their song The Run and Go. I loved the lyrics, the tension, the angst. 

I can't take them on my own, my ownPa,

Read More

The moments that stay with you

September 29, 2016 Writing  No comments

It’s funny, the moments that mark you, stay with you, without you even realizing it at the time.

And when you're a writer, those moments, often make it into your work. Mostly out of a need to understand them, form them into some kind of coherent meaning. Sometimes just to commemorate them, remember them, write them down. These are two of the moments from my life that made it into Running to Stand Still. 


The sky, an open wilderness above me, took my breath away.The scene where Collin takes Jamie out onto the ice in Chapter 16. 

I don’t remember at which point in the drafting process I added this scene—I think it was during the second draft. I know for sure it wasn’t there in the first—but I remember that when I wrote it,

Read More

Tears in the writer

September 22, 2016 Writing  No comments

I’ve said before that this book will probably be the most emotional, autobiographical book I will ever write.

These are the scenes I cried through as I wrote them:


What are you running away from?Chapter 32

She looked down at me, and I asked the question that’d been burning a hole in me since I met her, “Why does staying here scare you so much?”        She closed her eyes, her face pulling together toward the center. Then she turned her head away from me.        I held on to her arm, moving my grasp from her elbow to her hand.        “What are you running away from?”        I felt a shudder work through her body.        “Everything,”

Read More

Scenes: favorite & hardest to write

September 15, 2016 Writing  No comments

My favorite scene to write was in Chapter 26 when Jamie shows up at Collin’s house on poker night. My heart was racing the entire time I wrote and rewrote it. I liked how Jamie was the one taking action toward Collin, even though she’d just dropped the “I’m leaving in six months” bomb on him the day before. I also had a lot of fun writing this scene from Collin’s point of view because he’s not afraid to confront her. The scene is rewarding because they’re taking a big step forward after faltering back a few steps.

“I can’t seem to stay away from you,” she said in a way that suggested how painful it was for her to admit that she could actually need somebody. “Even though I know you’re bad for me.”           “Actually, I think

Read More

Let’s get meta: on the revision process

September 8, 2016 Writing  No comments

“When you’re writing a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” - John Gould according to Stephen King in On Writing

Just as the themes changed as the story developed, so too did the scenes and characters.

There is the story the readers get, and the story the writer knows.

In the first draft, Charlie was this brick wall hard-ass. He was immovable. Impenetrable. To the point that you were left wondering why Jamie even cared at all. He was, as the lingo goes, unsympathetic. Maybe he still is, but at least in the final version, he has some redeeming qualities.

And so, I guess what I’m trying to get at is, that while he is now more fully

Read More

The story I thought I was writing, and the story I actually wrote

September 1, 2016 Writing  No comments

“The true subject of your story emerges as your characters encounter obstacles and make choices. The subject is often a surprise.” - The Story Within, Laura Oliver

When I first started writing this story, I thought it was going to be a story about how you don’t have to be where you came from. That you can rise above your circumstances and create the life you want to have.

But then, as I worked through the layers of the story, new themes emerged. The story wasn’t about ambition, it was about how shadows get twisted up inside your head. It was a story about rewriting lies into truths. How the behaviors and beliefs that once enabled you to survive become maladaptive once you’re out of danger. About trauma, both singular and prolonged. How parents actions

Read More

Honest to god thoughts I have when writing sexy scenes

April 28, 2016 Writing  No comments

As follows…


How do I describe this in a way that sounds more sensual than pornographic…

*Consults thesaurus*

Burning. Crashing. Fiery blaze. Waves cresting and breaking sharply.

Pure. Wild. Untamed.

Oh, there we go. Got it!

*Sits back and reads*

Damn, that’s good.


Oh crap, my sister-in-law is going to read this when she edits this.


Oh my god, my mother-in-law is going to read this.

Oh god. Oh god.


What am I doing?!

My grandma is going to read this.

Read More

Feels a lot like dysfunction

April 14, 2016 Writing  No comments

I’ve always said that, to me, writing is like exorcising demons.

But no, not like, it is exorcising demons.

I just have to get it out. I can't not do it — a sentiment many artists have said in one form or another.

And it sounds so romantic, doesn’t it?

So poetic.

Can’t you picture the writer toiling away at his desk in the wee hours of the morning, pouring his heart out onto the page, burning that midnight oil?

Can’t you see the musician, guitar in hand, trying out chords, scribbling and crossing out lyrics in a worn notebook, rearranging pieces until the song is just right, until it says what he needs to say, how he needs to say it?

Can’t you

Read More

The Creative Process: interview with artist, Anthony Brass

February 14, 2014 Writing  No comments

To end the series of posts on the Creative Process, I thought I’d dig up some of my journalism skills from high school and interview a talented friend of mine, Anthony Brass, who has been putting out some pretty incredible paintings that have caught my attention.Bribing him with coffee (that I actually didn’t pay for), we met up at the Bean & Leaf in Royal Oak to talk about his paintings and his creative process. Me: I’m going to ask you some basic questions before we get started. Anthony: Like what my favorite color is and what not?(What a jokester! ) You go to Wayne State University now, what are you studying?Graphic arts. So I can go into advertising and be apart of the creative process. Realistically I felt like what was I going to do with a

Read More
1 2