Category: Writing

Novel Form

Freytag's Pyramid

Novels require suspense about the outcome between a determined person and a formidable obstacle. If the story cannot be cast in that shape, then another mode of telling the story is required

Reaction to Vicar of Wakefield

The Vicar of Wakefield

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith My rating: 3 of 5 stars Goldsmith’s novel is a child of the Age of Reason. It’s much too heavily weighed to the intellect. It devolved into talking heads. Goldsmith has many useful and provocative insights, in the logical domain which is all-important to him. The Vicar provides…

Distance. Insight into Show, Don’t Tell

John Gardner in The Art of Fiction described a very useful addition to the discussion about point of view (POV). He called it distance. Distance is a measure of emotional nearness presented to the reader. Understanding distance gives more insight into the constraint that all writers know: “Show. Don’t tell.” Gardner focused on distance with…

Essay or Story

As a person interested in issues, sometimes I get a passion for a developing idea yet am unsure whether to express it as an essay or a story. Sometimes I write a critical essay, other times a short story. Why would I ever want to write a piece of fiction to lay out an idea…

Thomas Wolfe’s House

After Biltmore on Saturday, Kris and I walked in downtown Asheville  Sunday morning and early afternoon. Great restaurants, street vendors, and specialty stores. Thomas Wolfe’s childhood house was in easy walking distance. He populated Look Homeward Angel with characters drawn from the boarding house his mother ran and the town he lived in. After it…