Monthly Archives: July 2012

Spam Commenters I Love to Hate

I really appreciate when people comment on the blog posts I put up. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of comments that are spam, though. WordPress automatically recognizes them as spam and puts them into separate location for me to moderate and delete. Until now, I’ve just been selecting all and deleting. But some of […]

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Sentences Are the Pack Mules of Literature

On Tuesday, I wrote the post, 100 Most Beautiful Words, and tried to make the case that although words are wonderful, sentences are what’s important. That night, I sat down with Douglas Bauer’s The Stuff of Fiction and read the chapter devoted entirely to the sentence. Some things Bauer said stood out for me and […]

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Writing Advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hat tip to Flavorwire for shining a light on this piece of advice published on Letters of Note. It’s from F. Scott Fitzgerald to the aspiring writer at the time, Frances Turnbull, who sent him a story for comment while she was a student at Radcliffe. (The Turnbulls owned a summer house called La Paix, […]

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100 Most Beautiful Words

This isn’t my list. But a friend passed it along and I thought it was interesting. It’s one person’s collection of the 100 Most Beautiful Words. I’d have to agree that many of these words roll over the tongue in a pleasing way. Desultory. Efflorescence. Lissome. I love words, but more than that, I love […]

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Transgressions as Story Fodder

Last week, I attended the Lounge Lit author reading in Cambridge sponsored by the folks at the Boston Book Festival and the literary magazine, the Drum. The theme for the event was Transgressions. Authors read pieces that had to do with lying, cheating, breaking the law and bending the rules. During the break, audience members […]

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Emotions Should Lead to Decisions

Here’s a tidbit from the Bookshelf Muse, which I came across this week: Emotions should lead to decisions. Angela Ackerman writes, “Always keep the story moving forward. A character agonizing over a choice will crank up the tension and heighten stakes, but too much will slow the pace. Remember too, often when emotion is involved, […]

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Emotion Is Not Always What, But Where

A writer’s ability to evoke emotion is the one skill that separates the greats from the mediocres. I’ve been compiling advice, articles, chapters, blogs posts and more that explain how a write can evoke emotion.  So far, all of the examples, tips, and devices and I’ve read explain what to do, and I wrote about this […]

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Fiction Should Evoke Emotion

The most important thing a piece of fiction can to do is evoke emotion in the reader. This is the goal of all art, isn’t it? To evoke emotion? The question is, how do the great writers do it? I’ve been digging around on this subject quite a bit lately and I have to say, […]

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Get Up Close and Observe

Recently I discovered the wonderful writer, Steven Milhauser. I was struck immediately by the depth of his writing and his ability to paint scenes that not only ground the reader in the moment but also the characters. Here’s an example from his story story, A Room in the Attic: [Wolf] invited me to his house, […]

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A Writer’s Apprenticeship in Madrid

In this week’s issue of the New Yorker, I found a wonderful piece called “The Hunger Diaries,” by Mavis Gallant, the Canadian short story writer and novelist. The article is a collection of her journal entries written between March and June 1952, when she was living in Madrid. Gallant was a fledgling fiction writer in […]

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