Cup of Dcaf: Juggling Viewpoint Characters


As I undertake my Wheel of Time Reread, the topic of viewpoint characters has been on my mind. In The Eye of the World, there are only a few POV characters: Rand has by far most of the book, with a few chapters from Perrin and a few from Nynaeve. It’s a rather startling contrast to…well, to the whole rest of the series, which sees an astounding 2700+ named characters, with hundreds of them getting viewpoints at one place or another.

And that brings me to my own experiences with the phenomenon. Continue reading

Guest Post! Lessons Learned with D. Emery Bunn


Today I’m happy to post a first on Dcafwriting: a guest post with another author!

First, the background: Last fall I attended a concert in Denver (Within Temptaton; they’re awesome, and everyone should check them out). While waiting in line at the merch table after the show, I became engaged in a conversation with a gentleman about writing—and found out he had just published his first novel. We had a great conversation, exchanged emails, and have kept in touch. Recently, the idea surfaced to do a little cooperation between our blogs. He interviewed me over at, and I asked him to do a Lessons Learned post here, about his writing process and his experiences with his exciting first novel, Darkness Concealed.

And now, the post, by D. Emery Bunn!
Continue reading

Cup of Dcaf: The Other Side of the Coin


My last post was a big rant about the lack of respect given to genre fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy. I stand by what I wrote in that post: genre fiction can absolutely have literary value.

But over the last couple of days,  I’ve given more thought to the issue, mostly in the context of academia. I was a creative writing major; I dealt with the stigma of genre fiction during my years of writing workshops and literature courses. I chafed against those strictures, pushing the lines whenever I could, because I love science fiction and fantasy. I love the things that those genres can do.

But I can honestly say that I would not be the writer I am today without the boundaries placed on me in my advanced writing workshops. Continue reading

Cup of Dcaf: Being a Writer


Recently, I’ve been posting a lot about some struggles that a lot of writers face, but one post has been nagging at me to be written: my own rules for being a writer.

Of course, these are my personal views on the matter, but I really think they apply universally. The thing is, I find myself talking to a lot of people who call themselves writers, but after talking to them for a while, I realize that that might not really be the case. They don’t do one or both of two things:

1) You have to read to be a writer. Continue reading

Cup of Dcaf: Momentum in Writing


It’s no secret that writing a novel is a tough thing to do. There are a variety of difficulties that many people, including myself, encounter on that rocky and twisting road toward completing a manuscript, but one of the most common is the simple fact of motivating yourself to actually put those words on the page. Continue reading

Cup of Dcaf: Managing Comparisons in Writing Style


I don’t think it’s any surprise that a lot of people get discouraged while writing novels—or poetry, or short stories, or…well, you get it. There are a whole host of reasons why these things all too often end up unfinished: lack of time, lack of motivation, the sheer difficulty of writing 50 or 100 thousand words.

One thing, I think, often goes overlooked, and that is the tendency of writers to be readers. Continue reading

All Flames Cast NaNo Update – Weeks 2 and 3


Well, last week didn’t really go as planned. I hit a major wall with All Flames Cast, and the result is that I am now way off my mark for getting to 90,000 words this month. I had a pretty big day on Saturday, trying to get back on track, but I still have a lot of ground to make up.

A big reason for this is where in the book I am. The parts I’m writing right now are smack dab in the middle: mostly exposition and character-building and setting up for the fun stuff at the end. The problem is, it’s easy to find myself rambling during stretches like these. I have had to consciously prevent myself from letting my characters go down tangents, even when it provides worldbuilding, because I need that page space to be spent moving the plot forward and helping the characters grow. I don’t want this to turn into a 250,000 word monstrosity. If I can keep the word total around 150,000 words, which was my goal from the beginning, I will be very happy.

So, as this third week of NaNo gets going, I find myself with a lot of work to do. All Flames Cast goes on, but we will see if I can really get to 90,000 words now. It was always a daunting goal.