Category Archives: Books & Libraries

Alligators and Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a strange beast, isn’t it? It’s compressed like a poem or a joke. It tries to do many things in a tight space: create a tiny narrative arc, suggest fully-formed characters in a gesture or two, allude … Continue reading

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“The Goldfinch”

Now that Donna Tartt has won the Pulitzer for The Goldfinch, I should probably link to my review of her beautiful novel on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose. A time-honored axiom among screenwriters and novelists is “Chase your character up a tree and … Continue reading

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Querying is Like Hell, Except Your Friends Aren’t There, Part I

In February of 2013, I rejoiced to type “The End” on the manuscript I’d been writing on and off for over twenty years. I spent the next two months editing, proofreading, and preparing the manuscript for the querying ordeal. Querying, … Continue reading

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“A Hologram for the King”

Despite all the hoopla about outdoor activities centered around water, serious book slaves know that the purpose of a summer vacation is reading. This week, the Magnificent Nose ran a series of summer book reviews that asked writers to think … Continue reading

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“Popping the Hood”

Over on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose, I have a post up about reading like a writer, including the tragic tale of how I lost my magical reading powers and what I got in exchange. Read the essay here.  Thanks!     … Continue reading

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Max Perkins: Editor of Genius

Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, by A. Scott Berg, arrived in my mailbox from a friend I know only from the Internet, because life is strange these days, with the intersections of the real and the virtual constantly confusing those of … Continue reading

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We Don’t Need Books to Free. We Need Them to be Brilliant.

When I’m meeting people for the first time, some of them want to confess: “Bless me, Librarian, for I have sinned. It has been four years since I last read a book.” People tell me this sheepishly (and quite unbidden. … Continue reading

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Lobbing Nerf Rocks

At a workshop I attended recently, Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 series, shared a rule, well-known among screenwriters, that I had never heard before: “Chase your character up a tree and throw rocks at him.” It’s smart advice: … Continue reading

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“The Circus of Dreams”

If you love magic, slipstream, history and romance, you’ll probably love Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus. Here’s an excerpt of my review of it on the Magnificent Nose. Click over to Neil’s place if you’d like to read … Continue reading

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Perfect Whole, Superstorm Sandy Edition

We are grateful to have come through the storm safe and well, with no property damage, though I did not at all like the threatening looks one old, majestic oak was casting in the direction of my dining room. It … Continue reading

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