Long Reads

It Was a Perfect Liftoff: Writing Lessons from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

Perhaps the most important lesson Mysteries  teaches is the value of wonder. Like so many of Van Allsburg’s works, Mysteries  hinges on its ability to inspire amazement in the reader. Houses that lift off like rocket ships, ocean liners sucked into the Venice canal, rocks that come skipping back across the pond…

Keep It Short & Put the Good Shit at the End: Lessons in Writing Sentences

One way to think of a sentence is like a room. A short sentence is a room with little in it. How does a sentence grow, after all? Almost always, a sentence grows because you have added clauses to it. Think of a clause as a piece of furniture. The longer the sentence, the more clauses, and thus the more furniture in the room.

My Love Affair With Hookers: Great 1st Lines in Fiction

If there were a coronation for King of First Lines, the award would no doubt have to go the late Elmore Leonard, who simply had a knack for openings that other writers would give their left arms for…

Go On, My Son: What I Learned About Writing Dialogue From Don Corleone

It wasn’t until I watched The Godfather Part III  that I finally began to understand how dialogue revealed character.