Mina vs. The Curse of Knowing

Everyone in class claimed she was actually psychic. I didn't know her at all, until we got paired up for an assignment in physics class. Mina* was the quiet girl in our small town school. But she had these eyes that bore into the back of your head so you felt it.  She was friendly [...]

School Bus 143

I felt connected to real magic when I was a kid, a force of invisible protection. I never told anyone at all. But I had it in my mind that something extraordinary was happening, there was something I was connected to, or that was connected to me, that protected me when I was lost and [...]

The Thing About Star Wars

I always had my reasons for choosing Trek over Wars, in the never-ending game of which is better. In my mind, it wasn't even close. Picard. Crusher. Guinan. A never-ending Trek through the galaxy. New discoveries, and enemies, and challenges, and species at every turn. The Borg. Still one of the greatest villainous forces of [...]

Shape the Future.

The tentacles of poverty and trauma attempt to reach out, stretching themselves forward in time, to bore into the minds, hearts, and spirits of every passing generation. They want the stings of stolen dreams, and failure, and pain, and shame, and abuse, and injustices never righted, to transmit forever forward and live on. In you. [...]

Everything that scares me about writing.

Because of factors that extend beyond me, I think a lot about the realities of making a living as an author. I've encountered three different camps on the subject. And the advice they offer all seems to make sense. Some of it conflicts. I'll do my best to share it here. One writer laid it [...]

Wednesday Motivation – from Elizabeth Gilbert

 Wednesday Motivation - from Elizabeth GilbertTo be included in the Armstrong Watts Newsletter Subscription Enter Your Email below. -- Armstrong Watts

On Losing A Friend

It's coming up on the anniversary of one of my best friends passing away from  ...probably the most cowardly way I can say it is depression. The other word feels too violent.  But more honest. I am suspicious of the idea that anyone takes their own life, except in cases of oncoming debilitating physical conditions. [...]

Entry #19: Invisible Rules

I started a file in my notebook called Invisible Rules. It's for rules I've picked up along the way, that snuck right into my subconscious, unexamined. They promise hell to pay if I break them. I run into conscious rules all the time. But I know I've run into an Invisible Rule when I am [...]

Entry #18 Where the Art Comes From

The first story I ever wrote and showed to someone outside of my family was motivated by wanting to solve a very real problem I was seeing. The girls in my elementary school were particularly mean to each other and divided into factions. I preferred hanging out with people one on one, (and still usually [...]


"What I think is that for centuries politicians have been getting away with gas-lighting entire groups of people." Character Explorations. © 2017-2019 Armstrong Watts.

Morrow and Krista.

"If you're depressed, or hurt, or something, we can deal with it. But nobody wants a girl who's just like a b--" "Like a what?" "Who's just like angry at everybody." -- "I'm saying if you are hurting, that's one thing." "You loved me when I had an eating disorder." "Of course." "But you can't [...]


"It started with some guy hacking into my best friend's phone after a bad break up. No, it wasn't their break up. She broke up with Adam. And this guy thought she should be dating him next." "But how did you learn?" "Anger and time." "Where is he now?" "He's not anywhere. Here's the first [...]

To. the. Ground.

"To. The. Ground." "A group of arsonists is said to be behind the fires at the Holloman complex and the Latimore storage facility. The police remain tight lipped about the motive and specific identities of the suspects.  This comes days after the shut down of the last facility left in Minneapolis." Character Explorations © Armstrong [...]

I.L. and Christopher

"Your kid sister doesn't trust me?" "I need you to go home." "You're scared and that's your excuse." - "If you're gonna run away, run away. But don't use her as an excuse."   Character Explorations © Armstrong Watts 2017-19  

Jace. & Wallace (The Bar Conf.)

You hit me. You. hit. me. If  you hit that guy right now, that would be a crime. Even if you were having a bad day. Even if you were frustrated. Even if you had some kind of responsibility for him and called it discipline. It'd be illegal to hit him, because you're frustrated, or [...]

Character Exploration (SaraJ)

I don't feel anything for him and I should. At least not anything good. I don't care about her anymore, and I should. I'm losing a good friend and mentor. Our relationship is already over. I won't even miss him. At least not for a while. I'll miss them. His mother. His father. His sisters. [...]

Entry #17: Impressions

Everybody gets a certain impression. Eventually, you get a feel for the impressions that people typically get of you. And you start to trust the impressions you first get of people. Loving, or wise, or stern, or distant, or kind, or curious, or what have you. Everybody gets a certain impression. And then it's like [...]

Entry #16: Who We Look Up To

So I'm reading this article about what builds self-confidence. What is it? Where does it come from? What strengthens it? So I can help my >clears throat< writer friend >avoids eye-contact< keep her confidence up when writing. Especially through the rough spots, The rough spots of getting the words onto the page. But also the [...]

Hostile Environments. Entry #15.

I can't do coffee shops. They never work for me. Not enough focused energy. It's all scattered coffee winos  chattering away about their day, or about the latest corporate blah blah blah, or the latest so and so in their circle to have an affair. People are rarely sharing anything real. Sit-down restaurants are better, [...]

Entry #14 – New Reasons to Write

I find myself less and less interested in the company of books. And less and less enthusiastic about losing myself in movies or TV series, even with the amazing stories we've had, and lost lately. I've become more and more interested in how we are connecting to each other outside of books, and theaters, and [...]

Part 3, Last Update on the Week of Writing Sprints.

Update on this past week of writing sprints. The plan was to see how writing sprints affected my process, especially in the uncertain phase I'm in, while deciding what work I'll do next on my previous draft. Sprinting made the writing week fly by. I did 20 minute writing sprints each day. With an average [...]

Part 2 – Kick Off to 20 Minute Writing Sprints (Mid-Week Update)

Quick update on the writing sprints. So far so good. 4 sprints on Friday. 4 sprints on Monday. 4 Tuesday. A few of them went longer than the 20 minutes planned. And my plan is to just keep it up until it isn't fun anymore or doesn't keep me writing. Also, doing a bit of [...]

Kick Off to 20 Minute Writing Sprints Over the Next Week.

While I let my last draft sit, I am going to take my mind off of it by doing Writing Sprints. Just 20 minute blocks, throughout the day to write. The only activities I'm going to count as writing are: Drafting. Writing Exercises. Brainstorming. Outlining. I'm going to count Research Sprints and Editing Sprints separately.  [...]

Entry #12: “That’s a Very Ambitious Goal, Young Lady.”

I had this Wylie Coyote moment. I was writing. I had a goal in mind. And a fellow writer, who I'll call Thomas, who was much, much, further along in his career, asked me what my goal was. I said, I'm writing a novel. He looked at me like he wanted to pat me on [...]

The Maisie Williams TED Talk.

"We are connected. We are aware. And we are the future." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTYOpfGvlwc

Entry #11: Make or Destroy

Pain needs an exit. A release valve. Just like desire. And any other primal human experience. It needs to be acknowledged, and then it needs a healthy life-giving way out. Or else. And we've been experiencing a lot of or else. Eating disorders, suicides, mass shootings, online bullying, opioid addiction, organized xenophobia, and on and [...]

Entry #10: When Someone Zaps Your Creative Energy

I don't know how it works exactly. I can't quite figure it out. I do know it takes skill. I'm talking to Person X. Everything is great. Friendly words are said. And then afterwards, I realize oh, I've just been stabbed with something. Only, I don't know what. All I know is I'm standing over [...]

Entry #9: Breaks.

I have given into taking a break. I would rather take a break once I've accomplished everything I think needs to be accomplished. But it is like all the systems just shut down, and I just need a break. It feels like a flaw. Like this is coming at the wrong time in the process. [...]

Entry #8: The Mentor Within.

I am at a point in the process of writing where everyone else's opinions sound like noise. One mentor contradicts another mentor. One role model contradicts another role model. And the loudest, and most confident voices around me, are the ones saying, forget about your own goals. Come work for me instead. All the clear [...]

Entry #7: Developing The Story.

I was in denial about being a writer. I had ideas. And characters. And worlds I wanted to get lost in. But I was sure that writing was a career for people who didn't just have ideas. They had stories. Fully formed, beginning to end, stories. This may be because teachers make writing sound really [...]

Entry #6: Writing When No One’s Listening

I think a lot about how stories are meant to be interactive. They are meant to be told person to person, face to face, or voice to voice. And live. The only stories that weren't were historical records of fact. And historical records of myth -- which I would call reflections of emotional and cultural [...]

Movie Marathon Today

Movie Marathon Today Attack the Block. Flight of the Navigator. Back to the Future Part 1 and 2. #WritingBreaks              

Entry #5: Narrowing Down Projects. The One Question that Helps.

I am huddled away writing, in the wee early hours of the morning because, as happens sometimes, I cannot sleep. I need a sounding board. And, everyone is asleep. Even if they were awake, there are very few people who can happily listen to the many thoughts and ideas writers have, as often as they'd [...]

Female Heroes of Marvel Bracket

I'm thinking Mariah Dillard vs. Jessica Jones, or Dark Phoenix vs. Shuri. #MarvelVillainsvsHeroes #WritingBreaks      

Entry #4: Friends, Allies and Enemies

My support system has had to change. This has been an uncomfortable part of the creative process. I've found it challenging, at times, to face the truth about where everyone, in my world, stands. I've found that to be more challenging than encountering new friends, allies, and enemies, along the way. I've been surprised by [...]

Entry #3: The Hero’s Journey, The Heroine’s Journey, and The Virgin’s Promise.

When I read the Heroine's Journey, it was the first time I felt like I was reading a story structure that reflected what I was actually going through. It was the first time I saw a model that said, yes, there was this moment when many of us had a realization that these qualities are [...]