When Is A Story Not A Story?

A friend who is an avid reader read an in-progress manuscript of mine recently (bless those who volunteer to be beta readers), and as with any constructive critique, I learned from the reader’s side of the story. Readers, he reminded, want to engage with the characters – if not to like them, at least to […]

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Testy Times All Over

  Something’s going on, and it’s not just limited to my immediate sphere of influence.  The recent election in the U.S. has been as contentious as any in recent history. Russia is at loggerheads with its erstwhile satellites of the Warsaw Pact. China, a good faith economic partner with the U.S., is rattling its swords. […]

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Harrison’s Hits and Misses

The Ancient Minstrel, by Jim Harrison Being a writer myself, I’ve begun to realize how difficult it is to separate what I write from me. Some writers, like the late Jim Harrison (died this year – 2016), don’t bother with such trivialities. Nor did Harrison limit his range of writing to fiction (he was perhaps […]

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Are We Not Boyle?

  I’ve complained here before that writers shouldn’t use fiction to advance their personal causes or issues. Never say never, of course, and it took author T. C. Boyle to show how to have your agenda and tell a good story too. My writing mentor, Doris Betts, once told me that either you’re a novelist or […]

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The Alt-Movie Gambit

My being lately what Grandma called a “shut-in” has meant finding ways to relieve boredom at home as the promised healing takes place (first the heart surgery, then discovering sometime during that process that I had a dislocated shoulder, followed by a mysteriously damaged knee replacement, which is currently causing me no end of pain). […]

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