Kid Lit, My Friend, Kid Lit

How do you read? What? What I mean is – and I mean this indirectly – what do you intend to get out of what you read? That’s a pretty general question, Bob. All right, I’m still not being clear enough. Do you read to get the gist of the story? Do you read to…

How Much Editing Is Enough?

You’ve had a request for your complete manuscript from an agent or editor. Suddenly your mouth goes dry. Your knees are shaky. Is your manuscript REALLY ready for prime time? OR Let’s say you’re a DIY person, and you publish yourself through Amazon or Smashwords, or some other self publishing organ. Will your readers toss your book…

Writing The Big Review

    There are tons of source material for writing book reviews, from those by pros in glossy magazines to the smallest, most humble blog. In my last post I offered one way to write the review in short form, i.e., a review you might write for a book on Amazon. And I promised to give you…

What Makes The Master Writer?

  Thumbing through the latest New Yorker issue (March 28, 2016) turned up a pleasant surprise: a short story, “My Purple Scented Novel,” by Ian McEwan, probably today’s most highly regarded English novelist. Predictably for me, the story proved as satisfying as cold watermelon on a hot North Carolina summer day. Then I began to wonder: What…

Short Stuff Makes It More Difficult

The River Swimmer, by Jim Harrison   The novella as a literary form has been around for a long while; it remains as popular in Great Britain and Europe as it has been in the first half of the U.S.’s twentieth century. For readers, the popularity stems from its abbreviated length, its compact style that…

A Magnificent Sprawl

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski Quite often it’s the flawed novels that stick to your ribs, not those approaching literary perfection, and this book is a great, magnificently flawed novel that I’ll find hard to forget. The story is one of the Sawtelle family, principally son Edgar, who was born without an…

The Artist and the Work

GF Readers, I’m finally back, my eight-day absence caused by a total knee replacement, and I’m more or less in the pink once more. Thanks for hanging in there with me and GF.   The Writer’s Chronicle, December 2013   Writers, how much have you thought about your personal relationship to your creative work, completed…