Category Archives: Shibboleths (for writers)

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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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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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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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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Comma fault

——————————————————————– I take a lot of grief for not knowing where the commas are supposed to go, and for punctuation generally. I don’t put speech in quotes unless  it’s reported speech, and in my stories it isn’t.But the most important … Continue reading

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More on hard books

————————————————————————– Some time back I pondered the issue of why some books are hard to read. At that time I was particularly interested in difficult styles. But of course there are other reasons why a book might be hard to … Continue reading

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The narrow road into the interior

Narrative objects  I decided recently, after seeing an exhibit of the Argentine artist Antonio Berni’s work at the Phoenix Art Museum, that it was now time for a re-orientation of my own work. Berni (among other things) for many years … Continue reading

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Mad about you

MAD ABOUT YOU I’ve decided to stop being angry about little art. It will never do to disparage something. One is too likely to find oneself the victim of one’s own criticism. Besides, big art may be aspired to but … Continue reading

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Shibboleths for writers: 7

Know your audience  A while back I posted some remarks on “Hard books” [28 Feb 2014] Part of the undertext there was the question of whether you should modify your writing when some people who might have been your readers … Continue reading

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Shibboleths for Writers: 6

  What has this all been about? About getting at the origins of story, the human awareness of the numinous world and the efforts to tell the discovery of the beginning and end of human life. We are not telling … Continue reading

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