This tag is associated with 10 posts

21 Tips for The Art of the Novel

1. Find a great plot or story. 2. Play with form and language. 3. Have the reader enjoy identifying the plot. 4. Combine plot and character. 5. Create stories that continue long after having been read. (e.g. William Trevor) 6. Place surprise on the page: even on every paragraph. (e.g. Jorge Luis Borges, JG Ballard) … Continue reading

Context & Code (after Vladimir Nabokov)

  For the fifth time in as many years, She was confronted with the challenge of what birthday present to take to someone who was incredibly strange, to the point of being deranged. Gadgets were to him buzzing hives of evil, vibrant with malignant activity, much of which he felt only he could perceive, or … Continue reading

Samuel Beckett Quotes

“Birth was the death of him.” “We are all born mad. Some remain so.” “No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.” “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”   “Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.” “My mistakes … Continue reading

The Dying (with apologies to James Joyce’s “The Dead”)

The Dying (with apologies to James Joyce)  Lily, the gardener’s daughter, was being run off her feet. Marshaled to help with the catering, she had brought one guest after another (men, mostly) into the massive kitchen, served them champagne and showed them where to leave their coats (in the pantry, converted into a closet). She … Continue reading

The Rise of the New Clown Movement (Short Fiction)

Gael applied the smile to my face with his usual cynicism. While I appreciated his skills, it tired me to listen to his tirade about the mayor’s excesses, the homeless, and how we’d been robbed in the elections. I had heard these stories many times before, in our village, on my travels, in this deeply … Continue reading

The VC and the Mistress (Fiction)

The VC &  Mistress    Was it destiny? According to Pat Nair there could be no doubt. His fortune teller in the Castro had told him that morning it was going to be a special day, one in which someone from the past might reappear, and that he should be prepared. Admittedly he had already … Continue reading

The Jogger with the dog (with apologies to Anton Chekhov’s “the lady with the dog”

The Jogger with the Dog The rumor was that someone attractive had appeared in the condo complex; a woman with a little dog. Doug (Douglas) Graham, who had only been in San Francisco for a month himself but was already at home there, had begun to take an interest in the new arrivals. Sitting in … Continue reading

Extracts of exquisite writing from Mohsin Hamid’s “how to get filthy rich in rising Asia”

One of the most exquisite pieces of contemporary writing I’ve read recently is “…rising Asia” by Mohsin Hamid. Ostensibly s self-help manual, this quicksilver sliver of contemporary fiction traces the arc of the protagonist (the unarmed “you”) from childbirth (“start with a business plan”), to the final poignant, bitter-sweet “have an exit strategy.” I have … Continue reading

Transcribing Chekhov to Silicon Valley Noir – The Jogger with the Dog

One of Chekhov’s most famous short stories is “The Lady with the Dog”, set in the Russian resort town of Yalta. I decided to use it to create a noir story set in 21st-century San Francisco called “The Jogger with the Dog”. An extract follows, after the original…   ========================= The Lady With The Dog … 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