Leverage Sunday: The Nigerian Job by John Rogers & Chris Downey: Creating a Community

Setting up a community isn’t easy; getting that many people on the page or screen and keeping them all individualized while combining them into a unit normally takes some time, a slow build so that the reader or viewer can get to know each member as the team gradually bonds. Some series–Person of Interest and Arrow, for example–do this over many episodes, adding one member at a time. And then there’s Leverage, a show that dropped five loners into the first episode, fused them into a unit, and never stopped running. The pilot for the series is a great tutorial on how to create a team very quickly while individualizing all its members. Continue reading

The Romance Contract


I’ve been e-mailing with Pam Regis, Argh’s Academic in Residence, about the romance contract, the agreement that romance writers make with their readers. From Pam’s first e-mail:

The unspoken contract in romance fiction is that the parties to the courtship will end up together. They’ll overcome whatever barriers there are to that ending-up-together and commit to each other. For most of the genre’s history, the outward sign of that commitment was marriage–no longer a requirement, although still quite common.

Continue reading

Arrow Thursday: Protagonists

Since my obsession with Arrow doesn’t seem to be abating, I’m going to put up a post the day after the show airs for the rest of this season. I’ll try to talk about writing craft, but sometimes you just have to say, “Oliver, you dumbass, you deserve everything you’re going to get for that.” But first, this:

Community Rules: Treat everyone with courtesy and respect. Do not say somebody is wrong, say “I respectfully disagree.” Any comment that refers to anyone in a derogatory way is going to get trashed. Any comment in a sarcastic, snide, or demeaning tone will be trashed even faster. Any comment that refers to Oliver as a man-whore is okay.

Of course, the show isn’t coming back until Feb. 26, so maybe this is a good time to look at some of the major aspects of the story in general. Like, say, Our Protagonist, Oliver Queen. Continue reading

Questionable: Saving a Dead Book

Kate asked:

“I’m writing a story I really, really loved when I wrote the first draft. But now I’ve let so many people influence how I write it that it isn’t mine anymore. All the shine has gone off it. (This has actually happened to two books, but one I know how to fix.) I want the original back. The story I was excited about, the one that entertained me, but I’m whenever I think of looking at it again I get
this yuck feeling in my stomach and I end up playing scrabble instead.

Do you have a method for reclaiming a story that you might have over edited or changed in ways that killed it for you?”

Continue reading