Writing A Book Review, Are You?

My World War II novel – or I should call it more accurately a fictional biography – is out in advance copies now, and I’ve asked quite a number of friends and acquaintances to read and review the book. All seem more than willing, but some half are wringing their hands over writing a review. So what’s […]

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The Long and Short of Story

Doris Betts, my mentor, told me one day that you’re either innately a short story writer or a novelist. She didn’t mean one couldn’t be the other; she simply meant that one’s nature leaned toward either the short story or the novel. I’ve quoted Lawrence Block below on the rigors of novel writing. I don’t necessarily […]

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Beware of the Hiccups

It’s been my experience – from my own writing and workshopping and editing others – that most problems – call them hiccups – for writers working on novels come in three places: the beginning the middle the end I don’t really have tongue in cheek as I write this, and, no, I don’t mean writers […]

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Putting Character Before Story

  The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer   Given my stance on this particular strain of postmodern American literature, I shouldn’t like this book, but I do. It’s character-heavy; These imagined people meet as children in Camp Spirit-In-The-Woods, and in a certain camp teepee, decide they’re darned special, special enough, in fact, to call themselves the […]

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And So To Begin…

I'm wondering…. image via depositphotos.com   You writers out there, how do you go about structuring your stories? Do you have a plan, or do you just wing it? And do you plot it out? Do you have your characters dance on plot's puppet strings? All these are valid ways to write, some maybe more […]

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Painting Character and Plot

We talk occasionally about the unity of story, how it's supposed to hang together and keep us interested. But my writing pal, Lyn, brought me a tough question recently: How do characterizations fit into that unity of story? At first thought – they don't. Characters are discrete, individualistic, and don't seem to led themselves to […]

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