How to Write a Compelling Narrator

The more interesting the story, the better we enjoy the person telling it to us, but an irresistible narrator is a big part of what we like in a story. Here are some key things that contribute to the creation of an unforgettable voice: 1. The compelling narrator is as complicated as any person you […]

The Problem with the Spotlight

Some people find the writing life faintly glamorous, which can spark well-meaning curiosity. But for me, the attention can be crippling. Steve Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics—which spawned a sequel, movie, radio show, and a full calendar of speaking engagements—also sees a downside. According to an interview with Dubner in newobserver.com: “‘It’s not like I’m even […]

A Thing for Nostalgia

Why did you call your book “Those Days,” I once asked writer Richard Critchfield, known for his narrative description of village life and disappearing times. He shrugged and said that “in those days” was the phrase he heard most in his interviews. It was what people wanted to talk about—the past, who they were, where […]

Prayer—or Plan?

There are those who will dispute this, and they have a point, but mostly I am a proponent of planning your story. Is it the only way to go? No. But ambitious projects—if they are to go smoothly from start to “the end”—benefit from planning. The better the plan, the better the project will go. […]

7 Questions on Memoir

Where should I start? You could start at the beginning, if you can find it. You could also take a more fool-proof approach and list your significant moments—forks in the road, times of change, the great highs and terrible lows—and start with any of these. Just write the scene. And then write another, and another. You […]

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