This category contains 19 posts

Elmore Leonard’s ten great tips for better writing

1. Never open a book with weather. 2. Avoid prologues. 3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. 4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely. 5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of … Continue reading

PopUp Magazine – Issue Seven

Pop Up Magazine – Edition Seven What is PopUp Magazine? A once in a lifetime event, or another San Francisco hype-story? A bit of both, perhaps. In its seventh edition, this San Francisco “happening” may be the next Burning Man in the making. For one evening at Davies Symphony Hall, a sold-out audience comes together to … Continue reading

Review – The Tender Bar: J.R. Moehringer

Hearing J.R. Moehringer on NPR today (his new book “Sutton” is a novel based on notorious bank-robber Willie Sutton) reminded me to write about his excellent coming-of-age memoir “The Tender Bar.” As a self-confessed barfly who has always loved the energy, charisma and conviviality of bars (I grew up soaking in Britain’s pub culture), this … Continue reading

Ten Tips to Better Literary Fiction

Show don’t tell, EXCEPT in the epiphany REMOVE all adverbs and adjectives Give each sentence (paragraph, page, chapter) an ARC Character IS plot Explicate the DESIRES of each character Break the inner CORE of each character and create a NEW core Describe how events lead each character to lose their IDENTITY (and create a new … Continue reading

David Mamet spends a week in Silicon Valley…

David Mamet joins a silicon valley startup and writes: Pink Martini Sunil Maulik ©2003 SCENE 1 The remnants of a dot-com startup. Desks, workstations, and office-chairs remain, but no computers are in sight. A bunch of computer-boxes are stacked in one corner. Printouts litter the floor. A whiteboard, with a large but unfinished Gantt chart, … Continue reading

Seven Suggestions for Completing A Novel

1. Write 1200 pages in order to get to 300 finished pages. 2. Give yourself the freedom to put in content that might not make the final cut. 3. Allow things to gestate. Don’t review, critique, or publish immediately. Sit with your work and don’t give up. 4. Workshops can be damaging and competitive. Understand … Continue reading

The Three Keys to Successful Short Fiction

The Three Keys to Successful Short Fiction: Vitality Audacity Surprise Understand the difference between mystery and suspense; between drama (shock) and surprise. Delineate the difference between Story and Plot. (The former are all the events that occurred. The latter is a singular event that epitomizes the entire story.) Note that Plot and Character can have … Continue reading

iPhone autocorrect haiku

“Fujitsu not ju-jitsu!” Man screams at ‘phone The Zen of martial business   Character or coward iPhone knows better Does one become the other?   Panem et Circences The Hunger Games iPhone knows that pain’s a circus   Cash stock options right now! I command Siri “Cass Stukov, I’ll remind you”   From Alain de … Continue reading

Somali Pirates hijack couple

“Somali pirates hijacked Paul and Rachel Chandler’s sailboat and held them for 388 days” – New York Times, Oct 9th, 2011 The noose pulled tight against her neck. Her hands and feet, bound, behind her back, were loosing feeling. Out of the corner of her eye, through gap between the blindfold and her eyelid, she … Continue reading