Image for post
Image for post
out-take from cover of K-Town Confidential

This is the number one thing you need to stop worrying about if you want to write a novel. The opening scene you are angsting over doesn’t mean squat. Now when you have finished your first draft, it starts to become important. When you have finished your fifth draft, it becomes very important.

But to start, just write what excites you, what you care about and keep going.

Remember, your first draft is you telling yourself the story. Your second and subsequent drafts are you telling readers the story. Big difference.

Start with something bad.

For fun, here are the…


Image for post
Image for post

Quora has some truly smart people on it. Depths of knowledge on ancient Rome, science, weird math, WW2, lots of esoteric stuff you to enjoy while queuing up to pay for your groceries or while getting your car washed.

I mostly answered posts on novel writing. I am beginning to be successful with that and saw questions and advice which horrified me, so I thought I would help out a little. I have about 1.1 million views, I’m not selling seminars or anything and I rarely mentioned my own books unless it was spot on for the question.

I was…


We know you started one…

Image for post
Image for post
How? Just tell me how!?

It’s one thing to start a novel. All that takes is a bottle of Macallan and a little sheltering-in-place. It’s another thing to finish it. Having published two award winners, a third coming out in August and a fourth being polished, I will share a couple of tips to get you to the finish line.

Ego is not enough. Ambition is not enough, nor is avarice.

Having a degree in writing is not enough. Having an Excel file full of little notes (someone confessed to this recently, I was horrified) is not enough.

No one…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Brad Chisholm

At midnight last night our leaders shut down California. I don’t blame Eric Garcetti or Gavin Newsom for wanting to be heroes. I can live with erring on the side of caution. (I wouldn’t vote either of them for dog-catcher, but I’m trying to leave that aside.) What I am upset about is, as usual, the hypocrisy.

Do you know, buried in the fine print, is that marijuana is apparently “essential”? Marijuana shops are open during this crisis. Not much else is, but you can get pot. How can this be? Do we have a crisis or don’t we? Pot…


The other thing you need to know.

Image for post
Image for post

Aside from coffee and a story burning in your gut like wasabi, there are many things you need to know to write a good novel. I’m not going to post about any of them today. Today is about some arithmetic.

Today’s number is 2. Because for a real writer, there are only 2 things:

Writing.

Everything else.

And I mean everything else. Hundreds of everything elses. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Brad Chisholm

A few weeks ago I went out to buy hand sanitizer and there wasn’t any.

But I’m a genius, so I figure I’ll make our own, make a big batch and we can sell it. Hysteria = Opportunity, right?

I have a bunch of empty jars left over from my “Let’s make California Pesto out of lawn clippings” project. The Vegans will eat it up. That one was going really well. I sourced special unobtanium micro-mesh from Yugoslavia that would filter out any dog poo, and I was golden.

“What about dog pee?”

That’s the last time I share an…


Image for post
Image for post

“Is there anyone in there?” Joey asked no one as he lit a cigarette and tried to ignore the burning car.

So many writers angst over where to start their story. I mean to the point of not being able to write. But while a strong opening is really important, it’s not important yet.

How can you decide this when you don’t even have your story written? You don’t have all your plot, all your characters, all the conflict.

This is what your first draft is for, to lay down your raw material. So start anywhere, and as you go…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Brad Chisholm

There are enough things to worry about when you are writing or revising a novel. Here is an easy method to keep track of your plot, spot gaps or identify where exposition is needed and manage the flow for maximum drama.

You can do it in a notebook, a word doc, or, if your story is complex, I suggest recipe cards. The only rule is you have to think of your story in scenes or events rather than chapters.

Write a line or two summarizing each scene, with critical detail only:

  1. Dick likes Jane.
  2. Jane likes Dick, though Jane is…

Barneys New York — Why It’s Over

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Author

I have shopped at Barneys in BH for nearly 20 years. Some of the staff have worked there that long, too. Many people are awfully sad about it. What went wrong?

First of all Barneys has been in trouble (and bankruptcy proceedings) for a long time, at least since the Obama recession. Fashion forward is a precarious place to be financially. Barneys long balanced this with excellent, conservative house brand clothing. I still wear a lot of pieces that are over ten years old. Think a classic navy suit, a black pencil skirt…

Brad Chisholm

K-Town Confidential (legal thriller, 2018) won Maxy + Pencraft awards and Kat & Maus (drama, 2018) won a Pencraft Award. Dash & Laila was published by Black R

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store