paddy doyle says you can learn the most about characters through dialogue. it’s the way people speak that defines them. but writing good dialogue takes a lot of practice and where it all starts is in eavesdropping. that’s right, eavesdropping. when you listen, really listen, to what people say and write it down, verbatim, you … Read more
i inhaled a beautiful book called THE VANISHING OF ESME LENNOX by Maggie O’Farrell. set in the 1930s, it’s a story about a young woman who’s caught wearing her mother’s negligee and institutionalized. the negligee, of course, is the last straw for a lifetime of being different. of wandering away from her desk at school. … Read more
i’m happy to say that one of my favourite characters, Fast Eddy, has made it into print. check out GRAIN Magazine (39.4) for my story “The Suitable Dress”. it’s a story about a woman with vertigo. here’s an excerpt: Sarah watches Fast Eddy sleep. Fatigue pools under his eyes like smog. She wonders how he … Read more
a list: 1. JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte 2. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison 3. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger 4. THE BIG SLEEP by Raymond Chandler 5. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee 6. CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller 7. THE VIRGIN SUICIDES by Jeffrey Eugenides 8. WHITE TEETH by Zadie … Read more
your first book is the only one that matters.
i’ve been thinking about firsts. to first write, to first send it out, to have a story accepted. to eat a fresh nectarine, the juices dripping down my chin into the folds of my neck. to talk to a real writer. to take a weekend away from my life. to stay up all night writing. … Read more
an excerpt from a fine short story from the collection SWEET TALK by Stephanie Vaughn, titled “we’re on tv in the universe.” “So you don’t want to go to the party?” I said to the chicken. I knew by then that I was driving on a chancy road, and I was trying to keep … Read more
last year, i attended a writing conference and spent a week fleshing out the main characters of a book i’m writing. throughout the process, fellow writers commented that my character’s name, Mike Blank, was annoying. it’s the repetition of the ‘k’ sounds. they all agreed that i needed to come up with a new name. … Read more
i’ve been thinking lately about clutter. specifically, clutter in writing. those extra words and clauses that muddy my sentences and paragraphs. William Zinsser discusses this problem in ON WRITING WELL and states “be grateful for what you can throw away.” what writing have you thrown away?