Tag Archives: writing

“The Schools”

Lately, I’ve been writing essays in my head instead of on paper, which has made Perfect Whole far too quiet, and my head far too noisy. But I’m popping in to share some news. The inaugural issue of River, River, a … Continue reading

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“How Kind of You to Come”

In what may be the first and last sort-of ghost story of my career, I present “How Kind of You to Come,” a short story I wrote for Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose, a tale of Halloween, art, grief, obsessive love, … Continue reading

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Creating a Character Template

Dr. Johnson called remarriage “the triumph of hope over experience.” The same might be said of writing a second novel before selling the first. Yet here I stand at the altar again, veiled, clutching a bouquet, arrayed in the sleek second-wedding ivory suit, tuning … Continue reading

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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 People’s MFA

I have a new essay on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose today about the People’s MFA, and about a particular session taught by Professor Michael Chabon. I’ve been thinking for some time about the process by which writers consciously and unconsciously model, … 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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What Would Dashiell Hammett Do?

In its 2013 summer fiction issue, The New Yorker magazine ran a Dashiell Hammett story called “An Inch and a Half of Glory” written in the 1920s, but previously unpublished. Parked at the station, waiting for my daughter’s train, I … 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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The End.

Saturday evening, a little before 9 pm  I typed two words I have longed to write for many years. The words were “The End,” and in typing them, I crossed an item off the list of my life goals. I have … Continue reading

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