5 Reasons Why Reading is the Key to Writing Success

5 Reasons Why Reading is the Key to Writing Success

Want to be a writer? Read, read, and read some more. It’s the first requirement for writing well. Don’t take my word for it, take Stephen King’s. He said: “You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do. If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

Read More

38 Literary Characters You Won’t Forget—For Better or For Worse

38 Literary Characters You Won’t Forget—For Better or For Worse

William Faulkner’s approach to writing a character explains why some literary characters are so real.  “Once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does,” said Faulkner.

Read More

This Summer, Read More Books for Fun—and Good Health

This Summer, Read More Books for Fun—and Good Health

Summer is here—stretching out as far as the eye could see. It’s a great time to catch up with our reading, not just for fun but also for our health. Multiple research studies have shown the many benefits of reading, from reducing stress to increasing empathy. The greatest benefit of all? Reading will help you live longer!

Read More

3 Writing Lessons from “Catch-22” and “Slaughterhouse-Five”

3 Writing Lessons from “Catch-22” and “Slaughterhouse-Five”

I’ve been meaning to read Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” and Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” for their popularity and critical acclaim.  I finally read both recently—at the same time. To be honest, they are not my favorite books, but they taught me three important lessons in writing.

Read More

Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2016 Cover Wide Range of Genres

Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2016 Cover Wide Range of Genres

As Americans, the First Amendment guarantees our freedom to read, and yet to this day, some books are banned. The American Library Association’s (ALA) top ten most challenged books in 2016 covered a wide range of genres: fiction, memoir, picture books, and graphic novels.

Read More

In Praise of the Perilous Multiple POVs: William Martin’s “Citizen Washington”

In Praise of the Perilous Multiple POVs: William Martin’s “Citizen Washington”

Authors who use multiple points of view risk losing their readers’ interest or confusing them with every shift. Only a few pull off such a perilous approach. In “Citizen Washington,” William Martin blows away the competition among “daredevil” authors. He uses not just three points of view (“The Girl on the Train” and “The Help”) or five (“The Poisonwood Bible”) but 16!

Read More

Top 10 Opening Sentences of Novels

Top 10 Opening Sentences of Novels

A novel’s first sentence is so important that Poets & Writers magazine devotes a section to the first lines of notable new books. In the same vein, I rounded up 10 of my favorite opening sentences. Each one is powerful, and the rest of the book delivers what the first sentence promises. 

Read More