Itching to write? Here's THE guidebook

I just pulled out my version of Janet Burroway's, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Decades into my career, eight years after publishing a bestseller in Columbine, I still turn to this amazing book. If you're just starting out with writing, or definitely if you've been toying with it but feel a bit rudderless, this is THE book. For anyone interested in writing — fiction or non — this is an amazing tool, which I highly recommend. Each chapter takes you step by step through one core element: plot, character, setting, POV, etc. And while the examples are fiction, the exact same techniques apply to narrative nonfiction. It's a classic, in its 9th edition, with heavy revisions each tim

Lolita, astonishing

How did I think Vladimir Nabokov devoted 300 pages to just an old man craving a 12-year-old girl? I'm 130 pages into Lolita and no spoilers, but whoa! So much more is going on in this tale. And it's delicious. Best prose of any book, ever, that I've ever read. (His Conclusive Evidence is my all-time favorite book.) (It was very hard getting past the central crime, though smart for the narrator to begin by addressing the jury. (We are consoled from the first notes that he's failed to get away with it.) On attempt #3, I've been able to accept that yes, there's a guy like that, and fascinated to get into his mind. And to hear this captivating tale in his exquisite prose. Here is p. 39, where I

NYC gets to work

1 a.m. Thursday night. Bike ride home, 8th Ave in Hell's Kitchen. I need to explore the city more on weeknights. It comes alive in unexpected ways. At first, it felt like a nuisance — having to ride around the work —until I realized how cool it was.

When a shooting strikes

We had two horrible shootings yesterday. I can't believe there are people who believe that's a good solution — especially to a political grievance! But regardless, these keep happening, so I finally did something ghastly, and created a When A Shooting Strikes page. (Someday, maybe I can change that first word to If...) It includes: Run, Hide, Fight info on how to respond if you're attack My Skeptic's Guide To Media Coverage Thoughts on how to stop these "spectacle murders."

Vacation! Needed that.

I'm on a very brief vacation in "Michigan."* Definitely needed that. It's just 3 days, but it's a start. * (We're at a lake by that name, and a city by that name, but not a stat — i.e., Michigan City, Indiana.) (Pictures coming.)

Lolita! 3rd time's the charm

"I then had the fantastic pleasure of creeping through that pitch-dark tunnel, where I lingered a little to listen to the singing in my

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