Category Archives: How to write

On 2001 after 50 years

When my work is on the table at a writers’ group meeting the first question I hear from young writers who still need to be propped up is the old shibboleth “Who’s your audience?” To this I say, if I’m … Continue reading

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Old, eccentric, tuo zio

The Hypnerotomachia Poliphiliis thought to be by Franceso Colonna, is considered one of the most beautiful books ever published, and also the most bizarre and inscrutable. It is an astounding example of bravura typography only half a century after Gutenberg, … Continue reading

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You can quote me on this

  You can quote me on this You can turn off the background music with the button in the upper right corner. One button is the Chinese character for chi, breath or life. The other is a crushed chi.

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The basic fundamental basics of fundamental basics

There are a great many things people natter about where novels are concerned. When the covers are closed and the monthly meeting of the book club has finished the chocolate cake and the discussion is about to begin, two topics … Continue reading

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The reader’s responsibility to the writer

One: An author with no readers is silent Communication is a two-ended process. Message sent, message received. Inevitably garbled and noisy, as Claude Shannon showed in the 40s. Clear communication is impossible. What we take as clear is the result … Continue reading

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Hard books revisited

——————————————————————– Originally posted Feb 28, 2014 Your reader complains that your sentences are “convoluted” – the definition of which is coiled, twisted, complex. This of course assumes you have any readers, which is unlikely, no? With sentences like that. Proust … Continue reading

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Audience

——————————————————————– Find your reader (again) Who do I write for?  Other people or myself?  Do I give myself problems to solve and work out ingenious solutions for my personal amusement?.  Do i really care when readers don’t understand?  — these … Continue reading

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Honest art

Two weeks ago I posted some remarks on “intellectual honesty in fiction” — I called it that because someone else called it that because someone else called it that. Accurate but pompous, as this topic often is. Anyway, the question was … Continue reading

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Intellectual honesty in fiction

——————————————————————– Recently a question was raised within my hearing as to what intellectual honesty in fiction was. My first response was that it means something else than fidelity to the facts of the real world. It means taking responsibility for … Continue reading

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What does it mean? (the reader asks)

——————————————————————– Stories are phenotropic. Events stick to them like cactus spines. When something happens, immediately we want to know why. What’s the backstory here? Who (or what) caused this? How’s it going to end? What, in other words, does it … Continue reading

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