Posts Categorized: The Writing Life

There’s an old saying that it’s easier to edit than it is to write, but I’m not sure I’m all in on that. Especially when you’re writing long form fiction.   A question that comes up often when I’m in a discussion about writing is “Do you edit as you go, or at the end?”   My answer: depends on the writer. I write my first draft longhand, using a pencil and a small notebook. This allows me to get ideas down fast. I just write it out, regardless of whatever errors may exist. And I usually write a chapter at a time. Then I transcribe the handwriting onto my laptop file, and that usually serves as my first edit. And I try to make that my only edit at the... more

Read More of Phillip Thompson: Writing vs. Editing

I use a variety of methods to stay mentally  and physically focused while I’m trying to write a novel, and this is important to me because I don’t spend all day writing. I may go days without being able to sit down with the characters, and I need to be able to jump right back in whenever I do. So, one of the big challenges for me during the writing of Outside the Law was staying organized for the long haul.  Both physically and mentally. Physically, writing a 60,000+ novel can get cumbersome, depending on how you’re going about it. I’m like several writer friends I know — I start a Word document and just start banging words out. Which sounds like a... more

Read More of Phillip Thompson: Staying Organized

It was bad enough that in 2007, at the age of 55, I tore up roots and moved from the east coast to Los Angeles, to carve out a career as a screenwriter. I upped the fish-out-of-water ante by choosing to live in an ethnic enclave—Koreatown. On arrival I found myself in a neighborhood where I not only couldn’t speak the language—I couldn’t even decipher the store signs. I was an outsider, which isn’t a bad situation for a writer. It kept me off-balance and open. I was an outsider for only so long. After a string of lonely nights in my apartment, I ventured out to a Korean nightclub a couple blocks away. The nightclub had no name that I could find, just a plastic sign that read... more

Read More of Mark Rogers: Writing “KOREATOWN BLUES”

After 3 ½ years in the making, it’s hard to believe I’m now three weeks away from the launch of my latest novel, Outside the Law on February 1st (but available now for pre-order). Writing this novel has been by far my most interesting and, I think, productive writing session yet. But it was not without its challenges. Like a lot of writers I know, I started out with a grand idea and a lot of words clogging up my head, and so I embarked on the tale in December 2013. I cranked out nearly 10,000 words over a holiday vacation week and felt pretty good about where I was headed. Then reality set in. Ten thousand words is a commitment — once I’m into it that deep, I have... more

Read More of Phillip Thompson: Writing “Outside the Law”

The announcement of my Edgar award as a Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America has garnered congratulations and praise from all over the place.  I’m very grateful. It’s particularly fun or, in Facebook terms, to be “liked” (you like me, you really really like me) by old friends, some of whom I haven’t heard from in decades. The world at once seems bigger and smaller.  I thank you all for the congratulations about the Grand Master award, which won’t be presented till next April, by the way. I’ve been reflecting on the Grand Master , the only troubling aspect of which is that it’s a reminder that a long career preceded it, and that the... more

Read More of Max Allan Collins on Being a Grand Master

The TV series Quarry, based on Max Allan Collins' beloved series of books, has just finished  its first critically acclaimed season on Cinemax. The series has departed in some ways from the books. Here Max discusses those departures, inherent in any adaptation, and his feelings about the fresh direction the show has taken while finding its own, unique voice. It’s a first-rate show. The finale (like the opening episode) is a feature-length crime story worthy of release as an indie film. The Vietnamese war sequence – one long take – is as remarkable a piece of filmmaking as I’ve seen in some time, capturing the feel and pressure and insanity of battle. The cast has been... more

Read More of Collins on QUARRY: The Author Reviews His TV Series