Author Archives: knlistman

When Writing is a Race

I’ve always envied authors who write quickly. Many of them pull ideas from their own life. Sometimes, when I finish reading a good novel I feel like I’ve met some of the characters, because the author has actually met the … Continue reading

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Whose Needs to Be Involved in Reading Curriculum?

Parents, children and school personnel all need to be involved reviewing books for the literature curriculum. I’ll tell you why. In sixth they had us read the Iliad and I wasn’t getting it. I asked my mom to read it to … Continue reading

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Choice

Ninth grade literature class–I was not aware that I had been chosen for the class of only twelve students. We read a few short stories in common and discussed them. The lengthier novels we selected for ourselves and read them … Continue reading

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Crime and picture books

At the library my five-year-old son pulled out a beautifully illustrated book of an old steam train. He had ridden in a few that still run for tourists. It was the kind of activity we did as a family, and … Continue reading

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How Much Do You Know about Banned Books?

The banning of books has gained a lot of notoriety recently. The image that pops into most people’s mind is a scene from Fahrenheit 451 in which books are torched in a flaming show of destruction. This has occurred in … Continue reading

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What limits should side characters have?

Most people are at least vaguely familiar with Anna Karenina if they know anything about Russian literature. Perhaps they have seen one of the movies made from this famous novel. I even discussed this book with a student who had … Continue reading

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How likeable does a character have to be?

We often hear it is absolutely necessary for your protagonist to be likable. I take this advice not just with a grain of salt but with a huge chunk of sodium chloride. One of my very dislikable characters (according to … Continue reading

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Researching memorable characters

What makes a character memorable? There is no one clear cut answer and even much debate over which ones have that quality.  I have researched a number of lists, particularly for characters from novels written in the 20th century. After … Continue reading

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Obnoxious characters

Creating villains is much like creating protagonists. They are people with depth and a history. A villain follows discernible motives just like the hero does. Only at some point in their life, villains take an ethical shortcut to get ahead. … Continue reading

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Writing by numbers

Shoving creativity into neat little boxes of specific sizes is difficult. Still, I tend to quantify my writing. It provides the sense that I am actually accomplishing something and adds to the vague hope that someday the rest of the … Continue reading

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