Slugline Version 1.3.0 (213)

An update to the splendid screenwriting app Slugline showed up today (Friday, March 17, 2017).

The ‘bug fixes’ portion of the release notes has some good stuff:

“Undo-ing the creation of a Character/Dialog pair no longer inserts random garbage into your screenplay.
‘That’s my job,’ you joked, but, hey, take it easy on yourself. That kind of self-doubt adds up.”

“When reverting to a saved document, the ‘Loading’ spinner should go away now, rather than stay there for four to eight years.”




Terrible Minds

Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge this week—OK, almost two years ago—is called “Spin The Wheel”.

I used a random number generator to come up with 10, 7, 2 for items within three specified categories hes set out.

Subgenre: Southern gothic. Setting: On the surface of a comet. Must feature: Magical foodstuff.

So yes, if I were to do Wendigs Flash Fiction challenge this weekI would have to _generate 1000 words of Southern gothic, set on the surface of a comet. AND featuring magical foodstuff_.

Names in late 1700’s America

I’ve needed some actual ~1800 given names for some time. A fellow named Douglas Galbi has some very useful lists at

He has separate lists of surnames, male and female, which list names by their descending frequency of occurrence. It’s a great help.

Another resource is the list of names of those aboard the prison ship Jersey, in New York harbor. You can find that and more at

Who is that guy?

My historical novel (second of a three-part series) involves a first person narrator/protagonist named Jack Clark, who in 1801 travels to Tripoli at the behest of Thomas Jefferson. There he finds himself caught up in the beginning of America’s first foreign war.

It’s relatively easy to keep Jack’s voice consistent because he’s the character doing most of the talking, either to the reader or to others in the stories. But what about them, those other major and minor characters? How do I keep them consistent, and individual as well?

Putting myself into their heads, is one way to put it. And I do it one character at a time. That is, after I’ve got a first draft — whether it’s just a scene or chapter, or the entire book — I read through for each character, one at character at a time.

During these readings I ask: Does she repeat herself? If so, is that one of her character traits, or is it lazy writing? Does he speak in a consistent manner? If not, is it story context driving the differences, or is it just more lazy writing?

There’s, more of course, but if you find yourself thinking, ‘this character is a different person,’ you’ve discovered something that would distract your readers, even if they weren’t sure why. Armed with that knowledge you can fix the problem, and your narrative will flow better.