Tag Archives: books

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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Definitely Not the Opera

(This isn’t a real Perfect Whole essay. Those are long and complicated! This is just a short post about the amazing new place blogging took me recently.) I was contacted by Clare Lawlor, a producer at a CBC radio show … Continue reading

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Elegy for a Thousand Stolen Books

After the seven-year project of weeding my high school library, one task remained: inventory. I had avoided it for several years, reasoning that there wasn’t much point in carefully accounting for books I would probably discard anyway. If someone had … Continue reading

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Part II. Unknown Unknowns

Mock Donald Rumsfeld all you like for his famous “Unknown unknowns” remark about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but he was right: it’s the stuff you don’t know that you don’t know that will sneak up from behind and … Continue reading

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Part I. How Freewriting Can Ruin 18 Consecutive Birthday Cakes

Nineteen years ago, I sat under a tree in the oldest part of the Rutgers campus and began to freewrite, as instructed by the poet Deena Linett, my professor in the New Jersey Writing Project.  The idea behind the NJ … Continue reading

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