I earn more writing novels than short stories — and you probably will too

For several years now, I’ve been earning the majority of my income by writing fiction under a variety of pen names you’ve never heard of. And it isn’t anything special about me. Thousands of authors you’ve never heard of are quietly making a full-time living creating fiction.

True, thousands of…

Only armadillos like soggy middles and sagging holes

Armadillo

Nonfiction writers spend lots of time crafting clickable titles, subtitles, and first lines. The really smart ones calculate how many characters will appear “above the fold” so the text cuts off at the perfect moment to force a click.

Alas, if you want to get paid, it isn’t enough to win the click. Readers have to stick around and read.

Don’t muddle through the middle. If your story is making people click away, try asking yourself this:

What promise did my headline make to my readers? Were they led to expect sharknado and given armadillos?

My new article offers a tongue-in-cheek case study about how not to disappoint online readers.

When desperate content writers fall into the trap of the soggy middle, readers notice

a close-in photo of a squinty-eyed armadillo

Louisiana has an infuriating place in the alphabet — smack dab in the middle. I suppose if you live in Alabama, or Alaska, or even California, then it isn’t such an annoying thing to read those slideshow news stories that involve all the endless clicking. …

My question for Top Story writers who’ve been around for a full year

Woodpecker holes in a tree trunk

Here’s a shout-out to all y’all who write for Vocal Media and keep your fingers on the pulse of current bonuses. I’m wondering if anybody knows something about the current status of Top Story bonuses. …

How long does it take the rest of you to fake a photo?

Macaw flying away over an unrestored New World pyramid

It always takes longer than it should for me to make a cover image. When you’re publishing a novel, you always have the option to give up and hire somebody else to do it, but you’d be nuts to do that on short stories or news/opinion items. …

Serious seekers don’t turn their back on science

Sun shining through forest canopy

On Wednesday, the governor of Louisiana announced that everyone age 18 and older who was six months out from being fully vaccinated was eligible to get their booster shot. On Thursday, I got boosted. Yay, me.

The current header of the governor’s Twitter profile makes it pretty explicit that all…

Fiction

An old legend says this rare macaw knows 52 stories, sparking a writer’s quest to Belize.

Macaw flying away over an unrestored New World pyramid

Before dawn, we find a spot on the bridge between two likely patches of forest. It’s a good place to watch for the Scarlet Macaws flying from one area of good habitat in the Chiquibul National Park to the other. …

a boardwalk through the marsh

High water, a jinx bird, and a memorial

In early November, I visited the Joyce Wildlife Management Area in Ponchatoula, Louisiana to see the Limpkin. I won’t keep you in suspense. Although everyone else has been seeing the bird for months — there’s an ebird record as recent as Wednesday the 17th — I didn’t see the bird.

Amethyst Qu

Author of “The Moldavite Message.” Seeker, traveler, birder, crystal collector.

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