This semester for the second time I am in charge of a novel course/workshop at Duke University. Because I’m giving the students some of the same advice I gave last year, I’m reposting this blog from 2016. Just like last year, when I moderated the course for the first time,... read more
Writing Tips Articles
“Go, little book” This exhortation from an author to his newly published book has been rattling around in my brain for some decades. I had thought it originated with one of the 19th-century French symbolist poets like Rimbaud or Mallarmé. I had also thought it meant that once the book... read more
From Shakespeare: Metaphor It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Simile O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night, Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear.
Note: This blog is a follow up to Size Matters and How Big Is Your Canvas? where I discuss in general terms imagining one’s story in terms of a painting. I can tell a writer is new to novel writing when I encounter a mismatch between the size of the story... read more
This is the sequel to English Settings I: Britishisms and English Settings II: British Slang. I’ll start where I started twice before: So you’re an American novelist and you’ve chosen to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English. Namely, American English. It’s one thing... read more
This is a sequel to English Settings I: Britishisms. I’ll start where I started before: So you’re an American novelist and you’ve chosen to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English. In my earlier blog I said that British slang was a category unto... read more
So you’re an American novelist and you’ve decided to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English. If your story is set in France it’s perfectly legit for your characters not to speak French if they happen to be, say, American. If your setting is... read more
As all writers know at this point, the great changes in the publishing industry in the past 10 – 15 years have made it possible for authors, like artists in the music world, to become their own producers.
Note: For more on this topic, see my previous blog post on Plot and Character Development where I state: “For me plot and character develop together, just as bone and muscle emerge together in the developing fetus.” To illustrate the points in this blog’s title I’ll use The Alpha’s Edge,... read more
Last week I was on the phone with an editor discussing my short story The Alpha’s Edge. She told me that when she hears a novelist say, “I want to write a short story” – mostly for the purpose of getting more material out into the marketplace quickly – she... read more