Best thing I ever learned was to outline my books before I write ‘em. I mentored with a screenwriter, the inimitable Stephen Susco, who advised me to outline first — I resisted, because that is our way as authors who get an idea in our head and can’t shake it loose. But I finally gave in and outlined. The book that resulted — BLACKBIRDS — went from taking me five years to write a failed first draft to 30 days to write the real draft. And subsequent novels of mine tend to take 30-90 days.
But here’s the trick to that advice: the advice really isn’t, “You should outline,” but rather, “When your process isn’t working, you should change your process.”
Chuck is the author of the published novels: Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Under the Empyrean Sky, Blue Blazes, Double Dead, Bait Dog, Dinocalypse Now, Beyond Dinocalypse and Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits. He also the author of the soon-to-be-published novels: The Cormorant, Blightborn (Heartland Book #2), Heartland Book #3, Dinocalypse Forever, Frack You, and The Hellsblood Bride. He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is an alum of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, showed at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producers Ted Hope and Anne Carey. Together they co-wrote the digital transmedia drama Collapsus, which was nominated for an International Digital Emmy and a Games 4 Change award.
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Chuck has contributed over two million words to the game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP). He was a frequent contributor to The Escapist, writing about games and pop culture.
Much of his writing advice has been collected in various writing- and storytelling-related e-books.
He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, two dogs, and tiny human.