My Words Fly Up

Beginnings Once More

Every year, I do a class that I call Beginnings. I look at the beginnings of several fiction and nonfiction books and note the ones that I consider particularly well written. (And occasionally the ones that are poorly done.) Sometimes I simply pull books off my shelves. Sometimes I prowl the new releases at my

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Writing a Different Mystery

A few months ago, I posted that I was going to write a mystery. I had decided to take the rather unwieldly general-fiction novel I was writing and recast it as a mystery. I did some research, since the book would deal in part with spies during World War II and the Cold War, and

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From Screenplay to Film

I posted several months ago about how one of my students went from a short story to a screenplay, coauthoring the screenplay with a friend of hers, Mark Battle. Mark is a filmmaker, and they have now gone from screenplay to film. During the summer Mark gathered a cast and crew and a 1991 Toyota

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Writing by Committee

In one of my advanced classes, three of the four students have been in class together for a few years. The fourth student joined more than a year ago. So they are all deeply familiar with one another’s novels (as am I, of course). One of the students, Brian, has been working on a marvelous,

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Writing a Mystery

I have always loved mysteries. Maybe it’s because my favorite book when I was ten or so was Harriet the Spy. Actually, Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels, which a friend of my mother’s introduced me to when I was in my teens, were what really hooked me. I clearly recall walking to my local bookstore

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Be Social


In which I blog about the days I write and the days I don’t write; about teaching about writing; about reading (which is never enough); and occasionally about music, because sometimes a three-minute song can tell as good a story as a novel.

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