Looking For Your Beating Heart?

There’s a great old house in the neighborhood, a massive, old money affair. Red brick and turrets, servant’s stairwells, hundreds of acres of prime lakefront, coach barns, farm barns, a carriage house, trails, gardens and wildlife sanctuaries, porches and stone beaches, greenhouses and a railroad not far, a private line that ran to the city. […]

How to Write a Winning Scene

What makes a great scene, anyway? A great scene is one that fully engages your reader by triggering a powerful emotional response. It doesn’t matter what the response is—fear, lust, envy, despair, pain, joy, shock, you name it—an emotionally engaged reader will continue to read. This is what you want. Now, how to get there?  […]

How Much Does it Weigh?

I know an artist who works in metal, using tools like anvils and a blow torch in an unheated warehouse studio. Hard-tipped shoes are a good idea if you’re going to hang around and watch. Sparks fly, and the racket of her creation can be heard halfway across the field. In that field, by the […]

Probabilities and the Written Word

I had occasion, one parents’ weekend, to attend a college math class. The room was filled with rows of computer banks where bright-eyed students sat, in varying states of posture, but all paying attention. White boards were on opposite walls of the classroom, front to back. The professor—a lively young man—moved the discussion along at […]

The Clause for Immortality

Some writers pick up the pen to fulfill one hope above all: the wish for immortality. That’s a distraction, even for a daydream, even if for the grandkids. Consider it a flamingo. And, as a rule, it won’t work either. While a writer may think, in that heady moment of signing a contract, that a […]

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