Tim Ouellette

On writing fiction

Back to square one

Over the years I’ve spent a considerable amount of time moving between genres in an attempt to find my authentic writing voice. I have started (and stopped) more projects than I care to remember. I’ve allowed my dedication to the craft to deteriorate to the point where I’d almost given up on the dream of writing for a living.


My creative well was close to becoming dry. I’d allowed a number of years to pass without reading more than a handful of novels. As a busy field manager I’d allowed that business to spill over into my personal life and let it consume my every waking moment. I ended up a really good manager but a poor excuse for a writer.

I’m working on filling that well again by immersing myself in fiction. I’m giving myself permission to day-dream, to allow my mind to wander wherever the hell it wants to go. I’m reading and studying books on the craft; not just inspirational pieces but actual, honest-to-goodness technical books on plot and dialogue and characterization. I’m working on developing the habit of daily writing by setting a daily writing quota and then convincing myself to stay up with the 5am alarm and get that writing done.

I’m currently re-reading Michael Connelly’s THE OVERLOOK and attempting to take in its structure, how the author strings his words and sentences together, why it is the dialogue works, etc.

I’m going to work at writing day in, day out, strengthening my writing habit till it becomes a part of me I can never let go.

Wish me luck.


An excerpt from a current work in progress titled SKIDDERS



“Charlie, what are you doing?”

He stopped mid-swing and froze; with the axe in his hand he looked like a miniature version of Paul Bunyan without the beard. She stood in the doorway to his room; he stood facing the window, away from her.

He answered without turning.

Disassembling,” he whispered.

His bedroom was in pieces; he’d hacked his bureau apart and driven the axe into the sheetrock in various places. His bed lay in ruins, upside down and against his closet door. He was hacking away at his writing desk when she  burst through his door.

“What are you talking about? Charlie, why are you doing this?”

He turned to look at her and she recoiled in horror. His eyes had rolled up so that only the white showed.  They looked like peeled grapes, with small strips of whitened scum glistening on the surface. The skin around his eyes was wrinkled and loose; long, looping folds gave the appearance of melted wax. The worst was his mouth – cheeks sunk, lips tight, bloodless, stretched open wide, a horrific caricature of an opera singer in the middle of an aria from hell.

She stretched a hand out to touch her son, then thought better of it and pulled it back. “Who did this to you Charlie?” she whispered.

Charlie moved toward his mother in shambling, halting steps. He smiled then, a vacant, empty, unholy smile.

Skidders,” he croaked.

Cover reveal & excerpt from HOLLOW MEN!

By the author of MIRROR IMAGE & I DARE YOU

It wasn’t so much the cold, or even the open windows. I had long given up any hope of ever being warm again. It wasn’t the god-awful smell or even the blood pooling on the floor in the corner, dripping from the partially-consumed body lying in a heap on the other side of the room.

It was the waiting.

Not knowing who was next. Not knowing how much time any of us had left.

We’d started the evening with seven: Sean, Phil, and Steve were already at my house when Cheryl, her friend Stephanie, and Stephanie’s boyfriend Chuck had shown up.

Seven friends, a little bored, a little high, looking for some laughs.

Seven friends.

And now we were down to five.


Look for HOLLOW MEN on Amazon soon!

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Back from hiatus

Been away from the keyboard since late November, feels good to be back in the saddle again.

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