Category Archives: Literature

Reviews and commentaries on how what you read affects your writing

The fantasy fad

When I attended a seminar for writers of young adult (YA) books, the speakers were all writing fantasy works. Nobody seemed to be creating realistic young adult novels. There should be room for mine, right? Maybe not. When I coached … Continue reading

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What were you thinking?

The precise rules for dealing with thoughts are not recorded in standard grammar and usage books. There are opinions on how to do this based on current trends, which may become dated in a few years. One of these is … Continue reading

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Language fashion trends

Speaking a language is a skill that we continue to do all our lives. If a child hears the language spoken properly, they will learn to speak it correctly without thinking about it. At least they will be speaking it correctly … Continue reading

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The need for criticism

W. Somerset Maugham said, “People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.” These were the words of his character, an artist in the novel Of Human Bondage, so it may not be Maugham’s real view. Or, was it? … Continue reading

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How well do you know your characters?

Why is it difficult to write complex and interesting characters? Because I must resist the temptation to simply tell about them. I cannot get upset by readers who expect to jump into immediate action and learn all about the character … Continue reading

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Mature content

As a grade school child, I read a book called Black Beauty. It was actually written for adults. In the first chapter the son and only heir to the family dies of a broken neck in the foolish sport of … Continue reading

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How do you say that?

The debate on how to write dialog well is often an unnecessary one. Our opinion of what makes good dialog depends on how we and the people around us speak. My stories tend to have a large amount of conversations. … Continue reading

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Try a little name dropping

Imagine you are discussing a current government situation with a friend. You mention an insight you learned about behind-the-scenes working of government while in our capitol. Perhaps you briefly mention that when George Bush explained this the first time, you … Continue reading

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Does being well-read help you write?

Despite the flood of self-published books, there are still agents searching the field of writers attempting to discover the next best-selling author. I read a long list of short blurbs written by these agents describing what they required of those … Continue reading

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Chemistry lessons

Chemistry–a subject in school that requires labs where students mix substances to observe what happens. However, the students spend much more time scribbling down equations on paper to calculate the result of reactions they never observe. Chemicals are often predictable. … Continue reading

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