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Archive for the ‘novels’ Category

My deficiencies in planning are revealed. My coworker Bloglily, she of the bright wit, well-turned phrase and sharp mind, had asked a number of us how we plan our writing projects.
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My little back-of-the-garage computer cockpit here has an adjoining “den” with an old couch, carpeting, a dogbed (chewed by Edie as a puppy), shelves full of books, and the new flat-screen visible from both cockpit and den. Our furnace is in the far corner, but the heat is piped elsewhere, so in winter I sometimes need the small space heater (as I listen to the furnace click on and off). The books are higgledy-piggledy right now, some grouped and stored neatly, spines out, some stacked, both spines out and bottom out. The titles remind me of various times in my life when they influenced me, when the topics or characters became even more real to me than you are. (Depending.)
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While up in Inverness, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Pigs in Heaven to see how she had put it together. First I read through about a third of the book, then I went back and put boxes around the names of recurring characters, underlined good metaphors, drew a vertical line next to key passages that moved the plot, etc. Then I read some more, and kept going: reading, then going back and marking.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald called it “the separator.” Ernest Hemingway, characteristically, called it “the bullshit detector.”
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Sometimes life has to pitch a notion to you several times for it to sink in. I don’t remember the first time someone recommended that I read Earle Stanley Gardner; the second time, I think, was while home brewing with my friend Dave. Recently, Marianne commented on him, and then I picked up Raymond Chandler Speaking.
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I like it when similar notions collide from separate places, when life supplies a serendipitous two-fer, as if a mystery writer might tackle a football player across the decades, a sort of cross-disciplinary meeting of minds and muscles. (more…)

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What has depth and worth any more? Can we even talk in terms of heavy, or is the notion as trite as a mass media portrayal of hippies? (more…)

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