This won’t be a regular blog, but sometimes, as writer, reader, or editor, I’m struck by a question, insight, or idea I think others might like or find useful. I’ll also toss in some articles and book reviews.

Any Novel Needs Mystery

A link to my piece posted by The Editorial Department

Writing Advice from Writers I Admire

(This post is regularly updated.)   Kurt Vonnegut was a favorite author of mine for years in my twenties.  Here’s his advice

I don’t agree with his tip #8.  I don’t think he really did either, since most of his novels are filled with suspense and a sense of mystery and wonder.


Elmore Leonard, whose writing could be serious and funny at the same time, gave some great advice in a NY Times piece The main points are sometimes abstracted into a brief list: Elmore Leonard’s ten rules for good writing: 

View the full article here!

Book Review: Lisa Cron, Wired for Story

Writers have long been flying blind.  They have been firing off stories without having any idea what happens to them after they splash down in readers' brains.  See my Goodreads review.

Steven Pinker’s book on Writing

Steven Pinker is a linguist and cognitive scientist who has written a number of erudite books on a wide range of topics. His latest, The Sense of Style, is about writing. I recommend it. Here’s a link to my review of it on

Volunteer to Teach Writing

A writer's outlook on a piece a student is working on is likely to be quite different from a teacher's.  Helping a kid figure out what he or she is really trying to say and how to best say it isn't the same as teaching standard essay technique and format. Help a kid learn to write better.   You may even learn something new about your own writing.  Many schools and other organizations have such programs. Here is a blog from a PEN program I'm involved in.  

Tips for Writing Memoir

Will Boast, a successful memoirist, offers some very good advice in his recent piece in Publisher's Weekly. Here's the link.

For any writer feeling rejected

For a look at rejection letters from the point of view of an acquisitions editor who has to write them, here's Jeff Shotts's blog.