Category Archives: fiction

Casual Racism

A hundred years ago, racism was common in fiction written by white people. It can be shocking, when reading something by a fine writer like F. Scott Fitzgerald, to see him quite casually refer to a Jewish character using a … Continue reading

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Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind

Writing a novel is very hard. There are so many ways to go wrong! This week I’ve been looking at an unpublished manuscript by a writer who is thinking of hiring me as an editor. I’m not going to mention … Continue reading

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It’s a Marvel

I never read comic books when I was a kid. I read Mad Magazine, but that wasn’t a comic, it was freewheeling satire suitable for the warping of impressionable young minds. Last week, at the local used book store, I … Continue reading

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Claymation

I’ve been enjoying N. K. Jemisin’s science fiction and fantasy. I mentioned somewhere that I was delighted to see an African-American woman becoming a successful writer, so someone suggested I might like Nnedi Okorafor. From my inter-library loan system I … Continue reading

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Those Darn Pronouns

The question of what pronoun to use (he? she? he/she? they?) plagues writers. With less frequency but deeper consequences, it plagues everybody else. Today I got into a wrangle with a guy — on Facebook, as usual — who referred … Continue reading

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Cruel Encouragement

What is one to say to an aspiring writer who is truly bad? Today on one of the Facebook writers’ groups where I hang out, a fellow posted what he described as a pitch and a synopsis. They were among … Continue reading

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Juggling

In the process of writing a story, there’s a lot to keep track of. You’ve got 17 balls in the air at once, or more likely a diverse collection of stuff that includes a bowling ball, a lighted torch, a … Continue reading

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