Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dean Wesley Smith Is The Man

I don't talk about authors here that much. Why? I dunno. There are tons of awesome ones. I guess I tend to focus on story and end product more than I focus on the creators.

So today let's talk about Dean Wesley Smith.

To be honest I've not read a ton of his work. I've read some of his Poker Boy stuff (superhero w/poker themes) and a Brian Saber book (time travel weird space fun) and some of his short stories in Smith's Monthly. But that's not why I'm saying he's the man.

He's the man because of the things he has done and how he's done it. He's started his own publishing company, edited tons of anthologies, writes faster than almost anyone (even though he says he's not that fast) and is married to another super duper author, Kristine Katherine Rusch.

More than that he and his wife have websites where they dispense advice on how to write and publish, they do this for free. And this is the internet folks, if you present yourself as expert enough to give advice, if you put yourself out there at all you are asking to be flamed and derided.

But Dean has marched through those flames and come out the other side looking good. All class this guy, in an era where any disagreement turns into a classless shit show.

Right now, and for the last 2 years or so, he's been documenting ON A DAILY BASIS everything he's doing professionally. It's called Writing In Public. It's been going on for like 777 days. I can't even remember to brush my teeth for that many days straight let alone update a blog every day.

Also he wrote a book about writing that, along with Sid Fields' Screenplay book, has been a huge help for me.

So here are some links -
Dean's Site:
KKR's Site:
Dean's Writing Into The Dark book:


  1. Replies
    1. Dude, totally. Dean's my chosen writing guru. He's helped more than anybody when it comes to making sense of this writing thing.

  2. Dean saved my writing life with "Writing Into the Dark." I see a lot of people dis the man, but I don't get that. What I've seen, he's graceful in disagreement, and helpful and kind in general.

    1. Agreed. All class that guy. I couldn't do it. I'm a delicate little flower compared to him. I can't imagine the number of book reviews that might have pierced his armor over the years.

    2. About saving your writing life, where you in an outline forever and second guess yourself type of mind loop? Been there. 6 months, frozen, not a word written, but a million planned.

    3. Kathlena, he saved mine as well. I was stuck in a horrid case of writer's block, second-guessing myself, sure I was the worst writer in the world. When I read those blog posts, my eyes were opened and I started writing again.

      I was sure I had to keep plugging away at plots and outlines, that I couldn't do anything unless it was planned out to the nth detail. Now, I sit down, think for a minute about what the story needs, and then I write. When I hit a block, I cycle back, and usually I can write some more. Sometimes not, and I don't worry about it! I just come back the next day and write some more.

      I'm still not consistent with daily writing, but I'm getting better and I know I'll be back to that soon.

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  4. Note: Anyone coming over here from TPV. This is very much NOT a free speech zone.

    It's a positive speech zone.

    I delete stuff. :-)

  5. I learned a lot from Dean, both from his blog and through his classes. He was always honest, which I'll take over cheerleading any day.

    I don't understand folks who are negative to him or to Kris. They've both been wonderful to me and the writing community at large.

  6. I've taken two of his on-site workshops on the Coast and seven of his online ones. I intuitively knew a lot about writing before I encountered Dean, but none of that knowledge was accessible to me in a conscious way. So, in sense, Dean has taught me everything I now know about writing and storytelling. My debt to the man is profound.

    1. Wow that's cool J.M.

      I knew you were a fan, I first encountered you on Dean's site, but I didn't know he'd been that central.

      If it weren't for Dean I'd probably not be writing. His 'myths' were essential in breaking my preconceptions about what it took to write a novel. Now I'm on my second novel and feeling great.

    2. I've been studying writing for years, reading every book I could find. I also was a voracious reader in general, so a lot of what is good writing became subconscious. Reading Dean's blog helped me realize I actually did know how to write, that the way I taught myself to write when I was a kid wasn't wrong.

      I'm letting my subconscious work out all that plot stuff, and then my fingers can do the typing so others can see it. I'll make a note of things, but no more plotting for me.

      I'm a lot happier and more productive than I've been in a long time, even though I'm not back to writing daily.

      And I don't get all the hatin' on the man, especially from some people on kboards. What he says isn't right for everyone, but I'd bet there's a good bit of info that would be immensely helpful to newbies, if they'd just listen.

  7. Yeah, I was wondering if you were talking about Dean over at TPV. I've taken workshops and classes, both online and in person, and each time I've come away with something new and useful. It's wonderful to have a long-time writer who has writing as their full-time career (for more than just a few years or for more than just a handful of books) willing to give back so much to those with not as much experience. Not many do that, because they are, well, busy with writing...

    And wanting to avoid the guff Dean and Kris get for saying it like it is. Yes, sometimes the truth hurts. Such as writers need practice just as much as anyone in any other field, about trusting the creative process, and then there is all the practical business stuff that anyone in any other business would nod their head and go, "Oh yes" but writers start screaming about...

    So many examples there. :P

    I hope they keep it up for many more years to come. Totally selfish of me, but I know I have a lot more to learn. And I want to learn it from pros.

  8. I didn't mention it above but maybe it's interesting. When I first started getting interested in writing Dean sent me his Heinlein's Rules lecture. He didn't even charge me.

    Who besides family does things like that for people they don't even know?

    I still email him from time to time. In fact I'm going to email him a link to this post, he'll get a kick out of it.

    1. Who? Not many people, for sure. I appreciate that he puts himself out there, doing the daily posts about his day, what he writes, his philosophy and experiences. It's not everybody that could do that, take the flack he gets, and keep going. But then, he's a pro, and that's how pro's roll. :P

  9. I've known Dean and Kris for coming up on 30 years. I never knew people more generous with their time and knowledge. Not surprising so many people call them inspirations, influences, and mentors.

    1. Kind of makes you wonder about some of the detractors. There was one on kboards who seems to have stopped posting, but he was very much against DWS especially, and would write long screeds against anything anyone posted about him. Another has basically called the couple liars, and posts in threads about DWS to pound on her issues with them.

      Me, I think they're both good people, just judging them from what I see them post. They are consistent, helpful and willing to stand up for their beliefs. I hope to take some of DWS's courses in the future, as finances permit.

    2. Same here. Money has been a big problem the last few years. When I have the money to invest it will be in education, and Dean/KKR on on the top of the list.

  10. I agree with all the above. DWS and KKR are awesome people, wonderful teachers, great spirits and help to aspirants and pros alike. I hope to do what they do in giving back when I can.

    I've not been able to afford their online classes, never mind their Coast Workshops, but someday soon I hope to take them. I look forward to it.


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