Fiction Plot Complexity and the Value of Regularity

Plot Complexity and the Value of Regularity

A fine Minnesota writer, William Kent Krueger, plans his mystery novels out in detail, I’m told.  He is well known for going to a diner each morning and writing.  His stories are detailed and coherent, and his prose is clear and finely balanced.  His Ordinary Grace won the 2014 Edgar for best novel.  Clearly, he …

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Mechanics Music, cadence and writing

Music, cadence and writing

My son Edward, a composer, sent me a cryptic note: Great article about two of my favorite things…. music and Vin Scully. The article is about the Dodgers’ legendary announcer. Professors at USC’s music school studied why Scully’s lines were so memorable, why so many people remember them verbatim. I’ll hope you watch the video …

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Mechanics John Grisham and Beethoven’s Ninth

John Grisham and Beethoven’s Ninth

John Grisham, thanks for setting me free. I’m in three writing critique groups.  Twenty or so regulars and some great writers.  We focus down on plot, character voice, technique.  I occasionally worry about over-analyzing everything I read.  Like in college when I had that course in music that took Beethoven’s Ninth apart note by note.  …

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Fiction Cyberwar


Not long ago, a writer friend said, “You’d better get published quickly, or your concept will be part of history.” He’s right. Back when I got the idea for my first novel, Fatal Score, I thought there would be a future war in cyberspace. I guessed at the time (2011) that it would start with …

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Literature Sailing and Editing

Sailing and Editing

At risk of straying into overwrought metaphor, editing is a bit like sailing. My wife’s family is of New England whaling stock. She grew up sailing the flat bottom, gaff-rigged skiffs that evolved from the workboats designed to sail the shallow bays and shoals of Cape Cod. Her grandmother wrote a wonderful story, The Cut …

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Mechanics The Writing Paradigm

The Writing Paradigm

Ponderous title, no? The paradigm of writing has been one of my discoveries, the kind that slaps you upside the head and then laughs at you when you look back over your benighted stumble toward understanding and realize that it was always there, obvious. You were just too dense to see it. Webster’s defines paradigm …

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Fiction Art, Wisdom, and the Comics

Art, Wisdom, and the Comics

I must admit that I glance at the front page of the paper, scan the news of the day and go to the comics page for wisdom. So, here you have it.  We writers often miss this truth, vainly trying to lock the reader into our own special vision. (from

Technology Overhead


Overhead:  That concept they lay on you at the auto dealership when you wonder why it costs $70 per hour to fix your car. Overhead:  A life concept I too often ignore. I digress today from writing about writing per se to talk about the real-world business of writing. Specifically, is this new age better? …

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