Criss Cross, a Newberry Medal winner from Lynn Rae Perkins, begins with the sentence, "She wished something would happen." This sentence is followed up with a meandering story, told from the perspective of six different adolescents across the span of one summer. Nothing dramatic happens to any of them. None of them end up dating each other. … Continue reading Criss Cross: Do Books Really Need Plots?
A few weeks ago, three of my favorite bloggers agreed to form a writing panel for today's post. I asked them to respond to five quotes about a writer's identity, and in their responses, they produced some smashing quotes of their own. First, a quick introduction... Paul is a retired English professor who has published several short … Continue reading Writers Respond to Famous Quotes
The year 2016 gave us our first feature film written by Artificial Intelligence, and it was...ridiculous. While AI clearly isn't ready to join writers behind the big screen or on the library shelf, the bots are capable of extracting insight from pre-written content. In fact, you can learn a lot about your writing by subjecting it to computer analysis. … Continue reading What will these 6 robots say about your writing?
I didn't just grew up in the south. I grew up on southern fiction. I moved up from children's books like Because of Winn Dixie and Bud, Not Buddy to the more intense Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry! and To Kill a Mockingbird and finally to the haunting The Color Purple and Absalom, Absalom! The fact that one branch of regional literature … Continue reading Why does the south get its own genre?
If you've ever taken a course in creative writing, you'll know that being on this list is a compliment! A writer's main goal is to manipulate his reader's emotions. The writers on this list manipulated my emotions so effectively that they bypassed all secondary and tertiary emotions and tapped into one of my primary emotions, … Continue reading 6 Sickening Moments in Classic Literature
JK Rowling's Harry Potter books claim 7 of the slots in the top 10 bestselling books of all times. That's a stupefying statistic if I've ever heard one! Rowling's writing is enchanting in its own right. If she had stopped at Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the book still would have fared well with children. If she had wrapped Harry's … Continue reading Harry Potter and the Power of the Heptalogy
As I read a novel, I like to collect some of its most evocative phrases and store them in my journal. Leafing through that journal, I've noticed that analogies (metaphors, similes, and the like) far outweigh all other types of phrases, which has led me to ponder the allure of the gems that make up … Continue reading Let’s Get Meta: a look at analogies and why we use them
Back when I worked in a cancer research lab, I had a coworker named Andy. He was a big, baby-faced guy with a mop of orange hair and a terrific personality; he was, at once, the most efficient and easy-going person in our lab. But what I enjoyed most about Andy was his vocabulary. He … Continue reading One for the NY Times
Happy Halloween! Boy, I'm a fan of this holiday: the colors, the candy, the folklore. If Halloween had nothing going for it but jack-o-lanterns, I would love it still. What, other than a jack-o-lantern, combines warm, glowing light with spookiness? Because of my enthusiasm for Halloween, I've decided to honor it with two posts. The first post … Continue reading What makes a book scary?
When You Reach Me has A Wrinkle in Time. Fifty Shades of Grey has Tess of d'Urbervilles. You've Got Mail has Pride and Prejudice. No matter what genre you examine, you will find books that are continually winging their characters back to the pages of other books. What is the meaning of these books within a book? Are authors trying to send us … Continue reading Metabooks!