Belly Laughs in a Serious World

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Does anyone out there remember the 1941 Preston Sturges classic, Sullivan’s Travels? The protagonist of that wonderful film is a highly successful director of unabashedly escapist Hollywood comedies who wakes … Read More

Freedom is a Talking Dog

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Some books—the writing of them, I mean—just seem to start themselves. A first sentence pops into your head. You hear a scrap of dialogue—either out in the world or between … Read More

The 24-Hour Novel

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Some writers seem to know what they’re doing when they start a novel. Some—or so I’ve been told—even have a complete outline or a stack of index cards with planned … Read More

How do you get your ideas?

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It’s a question that all novelists dread, generally because they don’t know the answer, and it’s a little embarrassing to be utterly baffled by a perfectly legitimate question regarding one’s … Read More

Brave New Solo World

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Consider this an invitation to a very quiet, long-distance sort of party. I’m inviting you to celebrate with me the completion of a project that’s been obsessing me for the … Read More

The Joy of Writing Epilogues

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Writing novels is not the easiest thing in the world but it does offer definite rewards—for example, being read, hearing from readers, and getting paid. Those are the obvious satisfactions, … Read More

The Naked Detective Revisited

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Like most writers, I think, I tend largely to forget about my own books once I’ve written them. This is fortunate, because if I kept my old stuff too firmly … Read More

Going Short

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Like many and probably most people who’ve muddled through to careers as novelists, I dipped a toe into fiction writing by way of the short story. In my twenties I … Read More

Happy Endings and Peace of Mind

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Call me a sap—I like happy endings. I don’t mean the sort of lazy, sloppy, unearned happy endings that one often sees in bad films and romance novels, as for … Read More

Introducing The Angels’ Share

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Writing novels gets to be a habit. Back in the 1990s, when I was living in Key West, I was writing one a year. The rhythm just felt right, brisk … Read More

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