Archive for April, 2009


Sunday, April 26th, 2009

“…In a Detective Story you never know more than the detective; but in a Thriller you never know less than the villain!”

What does the mystifying definition above imply for the would-be writer of a thriller? Simply, that as the writer, you must keep that terse, but most apt statement before you at all times: bearing in mind that the reader must be presented with the innermost plans and thoughts guiding the actions of the villain. Conversely, the hero – and the reader along with him – must stay in the dark about what is befalling him as he wades through the action. The thriller hero functions as detective-in-the-dark, trying to figure out who or what is opposing him – often in the middle of a life-death struggle. The writer is freed from the secretive, game-playing detective story format, and this opens up a vastly greater story horizon. (more…)


Sunday, April 12th, 2009

What is it about the novel that creates such mystery and fascination? Certainly, the non-fiction chronicles, memoirs, and how-to books have their sometimes fanatical adherents; but, in my opinion, only the novel – given a truly well imagined work of fiction – can send our minds and emotions spinning into the ether.

Let us suppose you are a novelist wanna-be.  Of what subject will you write? In what style, or genre, will you couch your story? And have you formulated a plan for commercial success? – if, in fact, any such concrete plan is at all  possible.  Weighty questions all, and twisted paths to the answers, every one of them.

You will find that acceptance of your work by the old guard New York City trade publishing cabal is extremely difficult. They seem to be bound to the agent fraternity, to celebrity personalities that will create instant book sales, as well as those genres holding current financial sway. Not that you shouldn’t spend a few years submitting your polished manuscript to New York agents and/or the acquisition editors at the various major trade publishers. But unless a lot of good luck and circumstance surrounding that book fall into place, you will meet only with rejection. Trade publishers do not need unsolicited material; they have enough requested and agented material to wade through.  You may have a piece of quality work, but it will not be greeted with instant adoration. Others stand in line before you. They will not be easily pushed aside. (more…)


Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Over the past few days I’ve been pondering – dismally – my income tax.  If everyone else’s returns resemble mine this year, Uncle Sam will be sorely disappointed with the haul.

I shouldn’t be so down in the dumps, for suddenly I note that almost every news report has some upbeat item displaying the economy in slightly more glowing terms than expected. This month’s non-farm job report, for instance, was down less than many feared – shedding a mere 660,000 souls. But if you’d searched through the data a little more carefully, you found a cryptic notation revising January’s job loss numbers upward to something over 740,000, a depressing increase from the prior release! Cute trick- shrink the current release figures, then a couple months later, when everyone has forgotten the old release, come out with what it really should have been. (more…)


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