Monthly Archives: January 2017


In his longish introduction to The Princess Bride, William Goldman sets up the pretense that he didn’t write the novel, that it’s a condensation of a much longer (and really boring) novel by someone named Morgenstern. The book we’re about … Continue reading

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Reframing the Debate

Today’s lightning bolt is an interview with George Lakoff in Salon. I hope you’ll read it, but I hope you’ll continue reading what I’m about to say before you jet off to Salon. The short version: The festering pile of … Continue reading

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Death & Transfiguration

In the novel you’re writing, is there violence? Do people die? Do any of the good people die? Every writer has a comfort zone with respect to these questions — and every genre has a loose set of rules, or … Continue reading

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All the Soap That Fits

At some point fifty or sixty years ago, the murder mystery was invaded and colonized by the Soap Opera virus. I’ll leave literary historians to work out when that happened. All I know for sure is that the books by … Continue reading

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Rewriting History

Getting the details right in a historical novel is always a struggle. There will always be loose threads that can’t be tucked in. But when you know a detail perfectly well and choose to ignore it, what are readers to … Continue reading

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Turn Left at Stop Sign

Some things are more important than selling books. I’ve been thinking out loud on this blog for some years now. Long-time readers (of whom there may be three or four) will have noticed that last year I repurposed the blog, … Continue reading

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Coitus Interruptus

There are so many ways to go wrong when writing a novel! One of the nastier ways to fail, I think, is to make an implicit promise to the reader and then not fulfill the promise. When the promise arises … Continue reading

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Missed Connections

Having concluded, however reluctantly, that I’m Not A Total Genius ™, I’m looking into hiring a freelance editor to do a developmental pass on my four-volume fantasy epic. One wants an editor with relevant experience. One expects to pay good … Continue reading

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