18 May 2016

The Da Vinci Code is fast paced, a “page-turner.” Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is not. We don’t need Writer’s Digest to define narrative pace as how quickly or slowly the writer takes a reader through the story. And yet crafting pages that quicken (or slow...

29 Mar 2016

We are awash in narrative. It arrives on every platform in ever-shorter form. (A Little Life not withstanding.) Which has me wondering, who has the time to dwell in a Brontë moor? And what’s the pay off?

Setting: A History

Nearly 3000 years ago, Homer* described 190** sh...

6 Oct 2015

Consider the Comic where what’s not on the page is as important as what is. So says comic artist and writer Scott McCloud in his deceptively simple book, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.

In the space between panels, the comic writer can move us across time, five...

7 Jul 2015

Bad juju comes to most of us, and sometimes it comes all at once and sometimes it is a staccato of bad news, one thing, another thing, another thing, another.

My response to trouble used to be assume professional stance at work. At home, I scarfed M&Ms and indulged in n...

10 Mar 2015

How Not to Write

I used to keep a book on my shelf to remind myself how not to write. The book, call it Stricken, consisted of a collection of essays on the author’s recent widowhood. She had written it perhaps too soon after her husband’s death.

It had all the hallmarks...

27 Jan 2015

Novels are my second love, the roast beef in my diet. And I relish the meal. But I down short stories like chocolates. For their density. For their Pow! of feeling and their electric insight.

I’d venture to say that much of what you need to know about writing a novel ca...

18 Nov 2014

I have just spent two-and-a-half years revising my novel.* The odds on getting it published feel, well, long. My writer friends (published and in-the-queue) tell horrific tales of editors** who do not buy the manuscript, but offer advice, “What if you told the story th...

13 May 2014

Some years ago I taught Communications 201 at Boston University. It was a plum job, as adjunct jobs go, because our students longed to be in the business of writing. They understood, as many students of creative writing do not, that both art and audience mattered....

23 Jan 2014

I lost nearly all my sense of smell when I was eight. One day my socks itched and the next day I was allergic to seemingly everything including "all grasses in the world," the grim doctor intoned, putting the kibosh to any fantasies about living sneeze-free in say Sene...

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