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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Guest Room Reads

I love having house guests. Love it so much, in fact, that I am always trying to tweak the guest facilities. The last addition was a pen and stationary pad for the bedside table. And I’m currently considering adding a power strip. Then there’s the stack of books that sits beside the bed in the [...]

Oh…. of course!

One of the smartest things I ever heard about writing is that the end of your story should be surprising and inevitable. What’s that? Surprising… and inevitable? Surely those are contradictory. Well, sort of, yes. But you still have to do your best to hit them both. You’re going for an “Oh… of course!” moment. [...]

I Do Like Their Cartoons, Though

Just finished reading an article in the New Yorker, whose contention is that “writing can’t be taught.” And I have to laugh. Because of all of the great myths about writing, there’s none I know to be so profoundly false. I don’t really understand why people go around saying something so patently stupid, unless it’s [...]

Got Issues?

I think it was Grace Paley who said something like, “A story needs two stories. Not plot and subplot, but two stories that relate to each other.” When I’m planning something to write, I refer to these two stories as the Acute Issue and the Chronic Issue. Acute Issues are, well, acute: “Don’t get eaten;” [...]

I Know You!

I wanted to expand a bit on my “Character is about constancy” statement from a few weeks back–mainly because it flies in the face of all conventional storytelling wisdom. My writing group is always talking about character change: “What changes for this character?” “Yes, but how is he changed by these events?” “I’m not seeing [...]