Keep it Clean.  I.E., Puns Welcome

Archives: Editing

I Hate Prologues

I Hate Prologues

For various reasons I was reminded this week that I said exactly that or something close to that or something related to that during a class discussion at the MFA Program.  It’s a good thing there is no record of those Warren Wilson classes.

In fact, what I said was likely closer to the idea that most prologues were a really bad idea.  The subject of the class was narrative engines, and I argued against the kind of narrative that offers you a brief moment of heightened narrative energy only to have you turn the page and discover chapter one, which circles back to the build up to what you have just read.  What you have just read shows up again somewhere around Chapter Four.  Chapters One, Two and Three contain all the stuff the novelist believes (falsely) that you need to know before you get to Chapter Four.  Which (if he/she would just give up all that wonderfully written but unnecessary exposition) should be the actual opening of the book.

Under Construction


If you’ve noticed weird things on this blog lately, it’s because it is in the process of being rebuilt.  Lots of new features are being added in preparation for the October launch of A Star in the Face of the Sky.

Fingers crossed for a successful update.  And if not, I’m learning enough about the back-end of WordPress templates to perhaps allow me to make an honest living for once.

Heathens is NOT a Novel

Heathens is NOT a Novel

New Rivers Press is currently housed somewhere just north of 1000 miles due north of me, so Suzzanne Kelley was spared the pleasure of having me sit in a little chair next to her desk and try not to roll my eyes as she pointed out the substantive problems with my manuscript.  I’ve been known to roll my eyes.

Where Do YOU Stand on the Okay vs OK Thing?

Where Do YOU Stand on the Okay vs OK Thing?

So, I’m reading a collection of short stories on the plane yesterday, on my way home from my “literary retreat.”  Right in the first (lovely!) story in this award-winning collection is a perfectly obvious and not-so-subtle editing error: a “that” that should have been a “than.”  I cringed a little.  I guess it happens to the best of us.

The Battle is Set


Upon the publication of Heathens, I received exactly four editorial suggestions from Bill Truesdale, the founder of New Rivers Press. I do not remember whether these came in the form of a letter or if we did them face-to-face in the then offices of the press, in the Ford Building in Minneapolis. Probably both.


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