Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

But Jobe, What About Bad Advice?

Let’s debunk some bad advice right now! While searching for some good novel-writing pointers for my Nano participants, I came across some advice I thought was awful, so let’s blast this trash for the bollocks it is.

This booktrust article had some good stuff, but this one I really hated:

“The first page of your first novel is the most important thing you will ever write.”

WHOA! Talk about negativity! Has this guy ever heard of rewriting??? Maybe the above is true for somebody somewhere, but seriously?!? Fear of writing bad work can stop potentially AWESOME writers in their tracks before they even give themselves the chance to begin. Don’t let that be  you! During Nano month, remember this good stuff instead:

  • Perfect is the opposite of good
  • First drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be
  • There will be time to edit later, for now JUST WRITE!!!

Besides, I’ve heard that several famous writers (re)write the first page last, as a continuation of the flow they’ve established writing the whole book.

A large explosion of confiscated mortar rounds, grenades, guns and other explosive devices set up by Army explosive ordnance disposal technicians on Contingency Operating Base Q-West, Iraq, Dec. 31. The controlled blast, which contained more than 1,500 pounds of explosives, was set off at midnight as a way to ring in the New Year from Iraq.


Okay, the next one you’ve heard a million times. “Show don’t tell.” But guess what? All novels show AND tell! You’re going to need blocks of exposition to tell some information, and you’re going to need blocks of dialogue to show some scenes. The reason this gets repeated so often is that some writers have the tendency toward too much tell and not enough show. Everybody is going to need a balance in that final draft. But in a first draft, just write how you write, whatever comes naturally. In my non-fiction first drafts I may write 30 pages without a line of dialogue. I work in the conversations later.



“Write what you know.” Obviously if you’re going to write about something less familiar you’ll want to do your research, like historical facts for historical fiction or scientific details for science fiction. But the point is not to paralyze you into feeling like if your parents aren’t divorced you can’t write about divorced parents. You can ask questions of the people around you. The phrase should be, “Write with authenticity.” If you tap into genuine emotions–fear, anger, grief–your reader will come along with you more easily on the plot points. Make your characters real people, with real reactions. And if you want to write what you don’t know, just learn about it!



If you want to read more about bad writing advice, check out these pros:

Posted in Special Announcement

Jobe’s Plea

Yesterday I learned that a friend and classmate, through a computer snafu, lost the 200 pg novel she had written for novel revision class. No back ups, no print outs, no emailed drafts. So I beg you, all of you, please back up your work often and in many locations. Please don’t let this tragedy be yours.




Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

Jobe’s How-To Tips for Novel Writing

Last year I compiled a long list of how to successfully participate in Nanowrimo, and you can read that excellent stuff here. But this year my writers were interested, “How exactly does one write a novel?” Presumably you just sit down and write until you’ve got a book length manuscript, then sit down and revise until you’ve got a polished manuscript. Because that explains it…Ahem. So without further ado, some pointers.

Victory Crayne, and many many other good sources, tells us to, “Start with a character and a problem.” Books are about people who grow and change and do things. Give your main character a problem and you get into the exploration of who they are and what they’re going to do to fix, overcome, avoid, or solve said problem.

Chuck Sambuchino (a great guy who I had the great pleasure of meeting!) tells us in this Writer’s Digest article to “make things happen.” Put plot in every scene!

Jessica Strawser, in this Writer’s Digest article, made the interesting suggestion, “Write what you feel.” We’re humans exploring the human condition, and books are unavoidably about the interactions between people. What makes those interactions interesting? Feelings! Life doesn’t just logically unfold in an endless series of zeroes and ones. Emotions are what color our worlds.

And don’t for get that even famous writers have doubts and worries. Just do it!

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Posted in Nanowrimo

Jobe, What Are My Nano Needs?

I’ve scoured the internet so you don’t have to (and added my own two cents, of course) to bring you the best nanowrimo survival kit list on the planet.

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit
water, coffee, tea, energy drinks, soda
fruit, veggies, granola bars, trail mix
sweetarts, popcorn, gum, chocolate covered coffee beans
tylenol, ibuprofen, chapstick, hand lotion, hair ties
writing playlists, inspirational music, mood music
favorite notebooks, favorite pens
USB drive to back up your files
totem or inanimate buddy
sweater, sweatshirt, blanket, comfy pants, warm socks
inspirational pictures and quotes
novelty mug
dictionary, thesaurus, baby name book
craft books, bulletin board, note cards, sticky notes
clean space
something for your hands like silly putty or slinky

Posted in Nanowrimo

But Jobe, What About Nano!!!???


NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every year for the month of November, hundreds of thousands of writers world wide strap in to write an entire novel from start to finish in just 30 days!!! Obviously the object of the exercise is to generate material like crazy and keep those inner editors far, far away. It is an absolute blast, and in the end you prove to yourself how much you can accomplish when you try.

Since I was blogging and participating last year, too, I went back through the archives and found my old posts. Guess what, I wrote my future self a note!


The thing I wish I’d done differently was kept up more consistency with writing every single day… I wish I had told myself it would be okay to write just 500 words. If I had written 500 words each day that I wrote none, I would have had an extra 7000 words! …I want to have a daily writing goal even if it’s a tiny one.

So this nano’s goal for me is to write every single day, even if it’s just a very short amount!

I want to make sure you have the nano calendar. But be on the lookout soon for an awesomely designed visual calendar from David Seah (I’ll post it here as soon as I see it’s available). You can also find some awesome art calendars on Deviant Art. And never underestimate the power of a Google image search! You might some gems, like I did!

This one from The Loony Teen Writer


This one from Pen and Muse
(view image here)


And this one from Concerning Writers!
(view image here)


And whether you’re participating or not, everyone could always use a nano pep talk, right?!? Or, say, an inspirational book?

If you’re looking for writing tools, in no particular order, be sure to check out:

And if you’re an area local, come on down to the main library campus in downtown Little Rock this Saturday from 10am to 12noon and check out my Nano 101 class for tons of encouragement, tips, and prizes! Cox Building, third floor. Everyone’s invited, no registration necessary.


Finally, I just learned of the existence of YAY!

Posted in Special Announcement

The Scoop from Jobe – Self Published and Small Press Book Fair (SPSP)

The Self Published and Small Press Book Fair (SPSP) will be held Sunday, November 8 in the Main Library’s Darragh Center from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event is FREE and open to the public. Books will be available to purchase.  Come one, come all!

Arkansas authors and Small Press representatives who want to sell books at the event must pre-register for the Book Fair. We have 25 authors, four small presses, one writer’s retreat, and one copyright lawyer/instructor registered.  The online form for registration can be found at The complete info page is at

On that Sunday, we will hold 4 mini-workshops for registered authors only. These workshops will occur in the first floor meeting rooms and will be held before the public event starts.

This is also the weekend of the FOCAL Book Sale, don’t miss out!


Posted in Reviews, Wednesday Readers

Jobe’s Miniature Read for the Modern World


Have I ever told you about my very most favorite literary journal? It is called Matchbook and it is an online flash fiction publication. I subscribe so I get an email whenever something new is posted. The email is half the fun! All the writing is interesting and pricks my brain awake from its stupor. Can you imagine a tiny book inside a tiny match box? It’s very quick. For the literary reader on the go.