I had to write a very brief intro to myself for a group describing who I “really” am at my core, “beyond your resume, awards, or accolades.” This is what I finally read to them:
If I were teaching a writing course, instead of spending hours lecturing to my students I’d force them to watch the movie Lincoln. As a more experienced writer trying to improve, I’d go watch that movie and pay attention. Continue reading →
To the casual observer, I was staring out the window. But, for writers, there’s a fine line between “loafing” and “research.” I was actually working very hard pondering how to improve some characters I created decades ago. That led me to think about how characters in a book or play are different from humans we meet in life, or from ourselves for that matter. Which led me briefly into politics, of course. Obviously, writing a blog about such a daydream is much easier than rewriting a novel, so here you go. Continue reading →
Had a pleasant email exchange with a friend trying to schedule a lunch. She writes book reviews for a living; we’ve always disagreed a bit about that. We haven’t managed to schedule a lunch yet, but she asked about my current thinking about paid reviews. Here’s what I said: Continue reading →
When I finished writing The Land of Debris and the Home of Alfredo, the world reacted with stunned indifference. No surge of cash flowed into my checking account, my phone did not ring with offers from TV show producers, no agents fought their way into my living room waving movie rights contracts in my face. The only evidence of the manuscript’s existence was a small but annoying pile of rejection letters in my desk drawer.
When you write a nonfiction book containing many facts and descriptions of other people’s theories along with your own experiences, you just about have to tackle the project in phases. You write it, then you rewrite it, you check your facts, you rewrite again, then you edit. After all that, you send it to “final readers” who mock your use of passive verbs and goofy sentence constructions. Based on that, you rewrite again. Then you get someone else to edit it for grammar and typos that you miss because you’ve been staring at the same words for so many months. After that, you start sending copies to people for blurbs and reviews.
The book I’m working on now, Revenge of the Pond Scum, is such a book. Continue reading →
I just spent a pleasant hour on the phone recording an interview with Maureen Anderson, host of “The Career Clinic” radio show. We talked about writing, publishing, and passive verbs. Continue reading →
Late May frogs sing with amorous enthusiasm not too far across the park. Red wing blackbirds whistle near the pond; the meadowlark must be in the half-grown ash tree outside my window. The roar of traffic on the highway a half mile away isn’t unpleasant at this distance; just a quiet chorus humming in the background, augmented this particular instant by the louder and deeper bass of an airplane lumbering toward the clouds. It’s warm enough, finally, not to need a jacket. Continue reading →
Some people monetize their blogs by letting people “subscribe” to them on their Kindle or whatever. Others sell advertising. I decided to just collect sixty or so blogs into a little E-book and sell that on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for 99 cents. It should “go live” sometime this weekend. Continue reading →