The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges, as well as opportunities, for the Taliban as they vie for power in Afghanistan. One of the world’s first major outbreaks after China was in Iran, home to a large Afghan diaspora, many of whom fled back into Afghanistan as the crisis in Iran worsened. Predictably, they … Continue reading The Taliban and COVID-19
Conflict is an essential element to stories, though even in an action movie it gets boring if it is always physical, or between the protagonist and antagonist. Conflict between all of the characters, even if relatively mild, propels your story along and allows you to maintain an essential level of tension. Here is a trick … Continue reading A Method for Crafting Conflict between your Characters
While decades of conflict have created a degree of anarchy and lawlessness across Afghanistan, within Afghan culture there have long been romanticized portrayals of bandits that continue to the present day. Pashtun culture in particular is highly egalitarian, with strongly pronounced streaks of both individualism and justice. The ideal Pashtun male is someone who is … Continue reading Afghanistan’s Bandit Tradition
I began writing seriously with screenplays, and learned about using index cards to outline a story from my writing partner. Screenwriters have been using them for years, but I use them whenever I am writing a story that is too long or complex for the outline to easily fit on a page. They’re also particularly … Continue reading How to Outline a Story with Index Cards
When I watched the first two episodes of “The Mandalorian,” I watched it as a writer rather than as a fan.
Since starting to write full-time, I’ve discovered that I have a writing superpower. The most surprising thing about it, though, is that it isn’t really about writing. You almost certainly have this superpower, too. Let me explain. Any creative work is hard. Steven Pressfield calls the thing that makes it hard “resistance.” It’s that force … Continue reading My Writing Superpower