From Feet in Blocks of Concrete to Flight

robertOlenButler_postcardAuthor Debra Young recommended a YouTube series featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler writing a short story from premise to publication in 17 two-hour videos: Inside Creative Writing. At first, the idea of the videos seemed too horrific to contemplate. Much of writing is cerebral, especially in story development; much of it is struggling with your feet encased in blocks of concrete as you work out motivation, themes, and transitions; much of it is edits, proofing and revisions—deleting pages, adding scenes, restructuring sentences and paragraphs, taking out commas, fine-tuning a single word at a time. Observing that process in my own writing ranges from painful flailing to watching paint dry.

Yet there is something both illuminating and instructive in watching Butler work. Check it out on YouTube at: If nothing else, you will truly appreciate both the magic and hard work it takes to write a story.

Happy viewing!


About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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