It’s been said that the best creative writing comes from periods when political and social revolutions are happening. I suppose the drama of a revolution is a part of that, and the intellectualizing or rationale for the revolution generates situations and characters that writers can easily work with. But a quick survey of modern revolutions and […]Read More Revolutions and Writing
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 […]Read More When Is A Story Not A Story?
So Bob Dylan has won the Nobel for literature in 2016. I’m not sure what I think about that. Not that I disparage Dylan’s work over the past half-century; he’s certainly set trends and erased boundaries within the music world during that time. During the ‘sixties, he wrote and performed songs in the topical, bluesy folk […]Read More Dylan and the Nobel
I’ve been reading a new novel written by a colleague, and it’s a fine piece of writing. He knows his way around the techniques of writing but, as happens once in a while for me, the reading taught me a lesson. You see, being a writer is as much a curse as it is a blessing; […]Read More The Open Door, Grammatically
This quote speaks to the enduring life behind literature. Literature is kind of like religious scripture; it manifests enduring truths and values wrapped in the clothing of its various eras, whereas the various scriptures are frozen in the time of their writing. “I can’t speak for readers in general, but personally I like to read stories […]Read More The River of Literature and Truth
It’s so very tempting as a writer to have an agenda, to put your own personal set of ethics up front in whatever your write. This is the thrust of many religious writers, who get a serious case of “feel-good” by doing so. But are you underestimating your readers in doing this? Take Tolstoy, for […]Read More Looking for the Universal in Literature
Researching and writing biographies is a noble pursuit, particularly for certain writers. Me? I feel too rushed – always have – to take on the piecing together of a famous life, one shrouded by the passage of years and myth. Ron Powers has done a great service to the life of Samuel Clemens – Mark Twain, […]Read More The Patience to Re-live a Life