Are You The Next Ted Dekker?

BIG NEWS! Kevin Kaiser, Ted Dekker’s literary agent in charge of global domination, has asked the question of who is the next Ted Dekker—and he is serious. So serious that he has opened up his normally closed agency for one day and one day only. On November 15th (now closed), he will accept a query[…]

I Officially Begin Writing MERLIN’S SHADOW

Merlin’s blade is gone. Whither has it gone? You’ll have to read book one to find out. You have a guess, you say? You may be right in your guess, but the question is HOW does it happen? And why? And what will be the result? (S.D. Smith, you’re not allowed to answer these questions![…]


I just finished my first draft of my very first novel: Merlin’s Blade, which is part of the Merlin Spiral. The total word count equals ~ 152,500, which I intend to chop down as close as I can to 120,000. That goal is steep, though, and I’ll be happy if I can get it close[…]

Optimistic Plotting – New Book Graphing Idea

Timothy Fish on his blog has an interesting article that talks about Optimistic Plots vs. Pessimistic Plots. As part of this, he has a sample plot graph, which is somewhat similar to the THIRST™ concept that I am promoting here. Take a look—its a whole new way of looking at plots that made me think.[…]

Making the Reader THIRST! – Part 5

Note that all of these THIRST values can be thought of as “entertainment” values. How much entertainment is the novel providing at that point. Calling them “entertainment” is really the only way to push what would appear to be the opposed values of “terror/fear” and “humor” together in one category. The underlying concept is that[…]

Making the Reader THIRST! – Part 4

Another question: What’s the difference between tension and suspense? I get my ideas from Sol Stein’s book “On Writing Fiction”. Tension is the short bursts of stress, strain and pressure that fades away and must be renewed again and again. Suspense is making the reader ask “what will happen” and keeping their curiosity as long[…]

Making the Reader THIRST! – Part 3

Paul on asked me a question about my THIRST™ graphs. Here is his question as well as my answer. What do you mean by Incident? Intrigue? Mysteries? – Paul You’re right, Paul. That one is not as obvious as the others. Think of “incident” as tension caused by some major event. In other words,[…]

A Book’s Readability vs. Sales

Steven Berlin Johnson wrote an interesting post about the readability of books. He graphed data that came out of’s “text stats” and had some interesting conclusions regarding sales vs. sentence length and word complexity. Basically, the better selling authors had shorter and easier to read sentences. To me, this makes perfect sense in terms[…]

Making the Reader THIRST! – Part 2

To commemorate my 50% milestone (be it ever so elusive), I am including the “graph” of my book using my THIRST™ methodology, which stands for: T – Tension H – Humor I – Incident R – Romance S – Suspense T – Terror/Fear I have my plot in a spreadsheet with one row per scene[…]

Making the Reader THIRST!

Did I say THIRST in that previous post? That’s actually an acronym that I am using as part of my novel creation methodology. THIRST™ stands for: T – Tension H – Humor I – Incident R – Romance S – Suspense T – Terror/Fear I have put this methodology and analysis system together based on[…]