All fiction rests on a foundation of fact. Even if an author describes five-headed creatures who live on Planet Zobar and drink purple water, he or she must give readers enough feeling of life for us to imagine the world the words create.  Continue reading...

Have you ever emailed me? If so, you likely received a reply in less than 24 hours. Yet I refuse to let email rule my life. I see email as a wonderfully improbable tool that allows me to communicate quickly and easily in the blink of an eye. Still, the writing of emails is an insidious task that could easily gobble up hours out of every day.  Continue reading...

The language used by the National Pastime is wonderful and strange (and not all food-related) - there are things you can say in baseball that you wouldn't say anywhere anywhere else.  Continue reading...

Captain America: Civil War is a hit film at the early summer box office, having recently surpassed 1 billion dollars in worldwide ticket sales. The film raises a lot of questions. A basic question can be answered well before that having to do with the language of the title: How can a War be Civil?  Continue reading...

Here's a perennially useful guide for choosing what book to read next: think of a title you've long known by name but never read, go straight to a library or bookstore, get it, and read it. Through decades that guide has steered me to Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Boswell's Life of Johnson, Hugo's Les Miserables, all of Austen, Dickens, and Twain, and many, many more.

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Every beginning writer I know abhors the idea of a crappy first draft. It's embarrassing, mortifying and humiliating. They know their boss or client or publisher is going to hate it. They're going to hate it themselves because they fear it will make them look inept and unskilled. Thus, they don't want to it exist on their hard-drive, even for a nanosecond. If this is your belief, I'm here to tell you you're wrong. You should LOVE your crappy first draft. You should worship it. You should seek to create it as soon as you possibly can.  Continue reading...

Writing at a standing desk is a principle that just kind of crept up on me.

You see, I have a bad back. Second, I love to walk. If ever there were a person ill designed for sitting all day at a desk, it would be me.  Continue reading...

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