Randall Payleitner reads more than I do, and the books he recommends are always worth reading. Here are his thoughts on what’s not worth reading. (1) It has sustained periods of boringness. Plenty of good books have slow spots, but if you’re fighting sleep or reading pages at a time without retention — maybe it’s […]
A novel may be a friend, companion, and traveling partner — but it’s not a person. If it isn’t working out, let it go! No one will be hurt, and you’ll have more time for the next one. Here are two ways to walk away from a novel — and tomorrow we’ll explore seven reasons […]
The Last of the Mohicans. A tale of adventure, resolve . . . and scathing invective heaped upon the Hurons! Racial derogation isn’t easy to read. When some character in a novel slurs a people group, it makes you wince. That doesn’t mean the story isn’t worth reading. It means we need to know how […]
Whether rearing children, growing your soul, or writing a novel, it’s hard to beat this bright line from Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf: Behavior that’s admired is the path to power among people everywhere (page 5).
Characters want, therefore they do; desire drives the action. It is what makes characters real, and it is the writer’s job to connect the characters’ wants to the reader’s own longings. Like characters, readers want justice, love, redemption, freedom, connection. Desire propels. Mistakes, irrevocable blunders get made. The story quickens. But while characters want things […]