Stephen's blog

“You’re writing a book? Cool! Am I in it?”

It’s a question that I’m sure every unpublished fiction writer gets (published writers can tell you to buy the book and find out for yourself). I’m also sure that the answer is the same for 99.99% of them as it is for me.


My books deal with situations that I want to explore. That means that the characters are defined by the needs of the plot (although as the story matures in writing, the characters also bring new perspectives and conversations to the storyline).

Writing Linearly, in the First Person - a challenge

I don’t write linearly. I don’t write the first chapter first, the second chapter second, etc., until the last chapter last. There are writers who write that way. I'm not one of them. I start at the beginning, write the end, then work out what has to happen to get from point A to point Z. I go back and add a detail or a piece of information that will become important later. I worl- build as aspects are revealed to me, and I incorporate them as I go along.

Catching up on my reading

It’s been a while since I posted - it doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading, writing, or thinking. There have been a number of articles recently that caught my attention, I thought I’d point out some of them here for anyone who’s interested.

Things you never think about: does a 20-cent coin make more sense than a 25-cent coin?

I noticed that I seemed to need less coins to make change in Malaysia than I did in Canada. Canada, like its counterpart the US, uses the following coins for values under $1: 5, 10, and 25 cent pieces (under $1, so not counting the loonie or twoonie). While Canada does technically have a 50-cent coin, it’s not widely circulated and can be hard to spend or receive as change. Malaysia has the following coins: 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. Canada, like Malaysia, no longer has a one-cent co

The Value and Bane of Word Counts

Writers live an die by the words they write. Invariably, they die by word counts.

Lately I’ve been setting myself writing goals for a novel I’m working on, Tau Ceti. Each month I project where I want the story to be at both the end of that month and the next. Unfortunately, missing those targets can be incredibly deflating. In July I missed my word count goal, and again in August. My story got stuck around 73,000 words and didn’t seem to go anywhere.