• When you have particularly enjoyed a book, purchase it in paperback. Read it again. Highlight every perfect word or phrase. Highlight every sentence that made you laugh or cry. Then read it again!
  • Ask yourself why the protagonist is so memorable.
  • How is he able to believably resolve his issues/conflicts by himself?
  • What details drew you so deftly into the place where the protagonist lives?
  • How does the author succeed in giving each character a distinctive voice?
  • Why do you feel such a sense of satisfaction at the end of the story?


  • I always write a good first line, but I have trouble in writing the others – Moliere.
  • Words set up atmospheres; electrical charges. Words conjure – Toni Cade Bambara.
  • If in the first act you say that a gun hung on the wall, in the second or third act it must without fail be discharged – Anton Chekhov
  • Dialogue reveals the character to the writer and, ultimately to the reader. I don’t have a very clear idea of who the characters are until they start talking – Joan Didion
  • Few of my characters are described externally; we see them from the inside out – Michael Ondaatje.

Spotted in Ft. Worth, Texas…


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