Latest Read

The Collapse Of Globalism: And The Reinvention Of The World by John Ralston Saul My rating: 5 of 5 stars Very briefly, I have always enjoyed what I've read by Saul and find myself in agreement with him, but having just finished reading this one I can only wonder if his case for Globalism having ended was not several years premature. He seems to underestimate the tenacity of its proponents, and the pusillanimity of its opponents. But he does to a wonderful job of shredding it... tying it

The Great Canards of Creative Writing

Write What You Know Having read reams of slush pile fiction, I have waded into numerous manuscripts that give the lie to the principle of Write What You Know. Frankly, it leads to a lot of writing about mundane daily routines, what might be called the workplace novel, or perhaps, even, the house spouse novel, that could not be more atrocious as fiction. They are all pretty much the same. They begin with waking up in the morning and getting breakfast together, dealing with the spouse and the

Point of View

One of the choices we face as writers, when approaching a new project, is how best to establish a narrative point of view. Third person omniscient (the author as narrator, thus able to enter the mind of every character) used to be standard, and is still used by many popular authors. It gives the author Godlike powers, and seems easier to bring off successfully than it is. The transition from one character's head to another can be a problem, as is the temptation to explain to the reader far more

Hit Lit and Lit Fic

I recently finished reading James Hall's excellent book on the craft of the bestselling novel, Hit Lit. He describes the many elements that bestselling novels share, with the coda that they are not, by themselves, enough to make a book a bestseller. What is needed, in addition, Hall says, is the passion of the writer for his subject matter and his characters. I particularly enjoyed his enlightening opening chapter, in which he writes about the novel's historical function as a form of popular entertainment.