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Things Your Writing Teacher Never Told You: Pro-Tips From Paul Dale Anderson

Sunday, August 9th, 2015 | Posted by Tina Jens

Paul Dale Anderson (photo by Tim Hatch)

Paul Dale Anderson (photo by Tim Hatch)

For our Pro Tip this week, we’ve got the first of what will be several installments from the prolific and generous Paul Dale Anderson. He’s answered all of the questions on our list. I’ve grouped related questions together and will share them over the coming weeks.

Paul has written across a variety of media and genres for more than twenty years, including nonfiction for television, radio, newspapers, and academic journals; poetry and book reviews; and all across the spectrum of commercial fiction, including romance, westerns, science fiction, erotica, and horror.

His latest novels are Abandoned (Eldritch Press, 2015), Darkness (2AM Publications, 2015), and Axes to Grind (Crossroad Press, 2015). He has new short stories coming out this fall at The Horror Zine Magazine, Weirdbook 31, and Pulp Adventures 18.

Paul Says:

Just remember, what works for me may not work right for you. But I often find it helpful to know how other writers work.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

From reading widely, especially newspapers.

What’s One Thing I Can Do to Improve My Writing?

Paul D Anderson Abandoned-smallWrite at least a thousand words of fresh fiction every day. Cut out all unnecessary words. Revise three times. Begin work on your next project. Submit all not-yet published or contracted material to paying markets. Keep writing at least a thousand words a day. Cut out all unnecessary words. Revise three times. Begin work on your next project. Write at least a thousand words each day….

You can find out more about Paul at his website:

His Amazon page:

His blog:

And his Author’s Guild website:

You can read the Pro-tips from our other authors here:

Laura Anne Gilman: What do you do to get unstuck and solve writer’s block?
Lawrence Watt-Evans: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started writing/ publishing?

Here’s our list of questions. If you’d like to add a question to the list, mention it in the comments section below.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started writing/publishing?
What’s one thing I can do to improve my writing?
Where do you get your ideas?
To outline or not to outline – what works for you?
What reference book/s should I own?
Research: Why and When?
What do you do to get unstuck and solve writer’s block?
How do you make yourself sit your butt in the chair and write?
Do you have any writing rituals?
Do you have any advice on self-editing?
What should I be reading?
Critique groups and first readers: good idea or bad idea?
I have trouble finding the right starting point for my story. Got any suggestions?
I can’t seem to get the ending right. What should I keep in mind?
Plot vs. Character – what’s your opinion?
How do I know when it’s ready to send out?
Do you write for more than one medium or in more than one genre? Why?
What advice do you have for new writers?

Tina L. Jens has been teaching varying combinations of Exploring Fantasy Genre Writing, Fantasy Writing Workshop, and Advanced Fantasy Writing Workshop at Columbia College-Chicago since 2007. The first of her 75 or so published fantasy and horror short stories was released in 1994. She has had dozens of newspaper articles published, a few poems, a comic, and had a short comedic play produced in Alabama and another chosen for a table reading by Dandelion Theatre in Chicago. Her novel, The Blues Ain’t Nothin’: Tales of the Lonesome Blues Pub, won Best Novel from the National Federation of Press Women, and was a final nominee for Best First Novel for the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards.

She was the senior producer of a weekly fiction reading series, Twilight Tales, for 15 years, and was the editor/publisher of the Twilight Tales small press, overseeing 26 anthologies and collections. She co-chaired a World Fantasy Convention, a World Horror Convention, and served for two years as the Chairman of the Board for the Horror Writers Assoc. Along with teaching, writing, and blogging, she also supervises a revolving crew of interns who help her run the monthly, multi-genre, reading series Gumbo Fiction Salon in Chicago. You can find more of her musings on writing, social justice, politics, and feminism on Facebook @ Tina Jens. Be sure to drop her a PM and tell her you saw her Black Gate blog.

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