On Rejection and Courage in Writing

I don't think I have many stories rejected anymore because of the writing per se. (Although I am capable of  writing the occasional sentence that makes the reader stop and say, "Wha?")  No, I think the reasons I get rejected now is due to length: too short or too long, the editor having a bad …

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My 10 Favorite Opening Lines for Fiction

Here are my top first lines from books I've read.  These books have had an impact on my maturity and growth as a writer.  But they aren't arranged in any particular order.  I've tried to include  lines that weren't selected a while back by American Book Review, though there are one or two I couldn't …

Seven Deadly Qualifiers that Weaken Fiction

One thing I do when I edit or reread my story before I submit it,  is to use a search function to find and zap qualifiers in the manuscript. Qualifiers are a pain.  They weaken sentence structure even though they are all but invisible.   Okay, sometimes I admit you need a qualifier, and having one …

Suspension of Disbelief: Not the Rubicon You Thought It Was

The more I study opera the more I learn about suspension of disbelief at least as far as writing goes, and the human propensity for engaging in it. Suspension of disbelief is a big thing in opera.  It's a natural given you are to suspend a lot of disbelief so the opera can move on.  …