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The single most valuable thing an aspiring writer can do to improve his or her work may be stated in three words: Read good books! Unfortunately, the statement begs the question, what makes a good book? The book you prize I may scorn; the book that thrills me may bore you.  Continue reading...
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Stories, we learn in school, must have beginnings, middles, and ends. Creating each leg of the age-old triangle poses daunting challenges, yet for writers eager to write a deathless masterpiece, no challenge is more daunting than beginning.  Continue reading...
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The Rolling Stones Discover America, my eyewitness account of a month-long Stones tour in 1969, became an Amazon Kindle Single e-book early this year, and now Hachette is publishing it as an audio book. When Hachette Audio's editor Anthony Goff and I shook hands on the deal in June, I asked if I could narrate the book.  Continue reading...
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Browsing the shelves of a hushed private library recently, I came across a small book, Essays on Modern Novelists, by William Lyon Phelps. The author's name rang a faint bell, so I took the book down, blew off decades of dust, opened its stiff brown covers, and flipped through its yellowed pages, many of them still uncut.  Continue reading...
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You and I want to be good writers, but what will make our writing good? Inspiration, perspiration, determination, and endless revision — all fine answers, but the biggest answer is: good writing captures life.  Continue reading...
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Day after day of 90+ degree heat seems to melt our brains into neuronic mushes far too soggy for heavy reading, and we become capable only of lazing through lighter-than-air fare. A memorable New Yorker cartoon tells the story: a stern cop, looming over a sunbather reading Crime and Punishment, says, "I'm sorry, sir, but Dostoyevsky is not considered summer reading."  Continue reading...
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"All men are created equal." This sentence stands among the most powerful five words penned since Biblical times. America's founders declared the sentence a "self-evident truth," and for two hundred and thirty-seven years it has been both the rock on which the nation's democracy has stood firm, and a lightning flash that has inspired rebels everywhere to fight against the lies of tyrants.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 59 Articles