Categories
Musing

The Liberty of Blogging

As I set about creating the second blog of my life, I am thinking about the liberty of the blogger. The writer enjoys various degrees of liberty in the different kinds of things they write. In a diary or journal you may safely say almost anything, as long as you leave instructions in your will […]

Categories
Roaming

Grand Tour 4: St. Louis to Springfield MO

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Grand Tour

May 2, 2018. We head out of St. Louis toward Springfield, Missouri on a route that takes us through the Ozarks.  Themes for the  day: thousands of tiny attractions, bridges that memorialize corporals rather than generals, and wonky navigation units. The Garmin, which served us so well in Chicago, decides to ignore all my painstakingly […]

Categories
Roaming

Grand Tour 3: Springfield to St Louis

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Grand Tour

I resume the long-delayed transcribing of my Grand Tour travel diary in the midst of a pandemic which has meant, among other inconveniences, that I am at home on my laptop instead of somewhere in Utah, as originally planned for this October. Some say that the purpose of travel is to accumulate memories. If so, […]

Categories
Writing

Terms of the Trade: Active and Passive Voice

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Terms of the Trade

One should always prefer the active voice over the passive, they tell us. Baloney. Active and passive are technical grammatical terms that have nothing to do with how active or passive your writing is. The distinction between the two forms actually has to do with whether the focus of your statement is the actor or […]

Categories
Writing

Terms of the Trade: Past and Present Tense Narratives

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Terms of the Trade

I am puzzled by how imprecise writers sometimes are when they talk about their craft. If any craft should be precise and lucid in the description of what it does, it should be writing. But it’s not. A case in point: the distinction between “present tense” and “past tense” narratives. Let’s be clear from the […]

Categories
Reading

On the Value of Close Reading for Writers

The practice of close reading a text is an interesting one. It implies that normal reading is less close. So what is the point of reading a text more closely than normal? Does it yield a better reading experience? Does it provide a window into the soul, or at least the technique of a writer? And […]

Categories
Writing

Stories All the Way Down

The name of this blog, Stories All the Way Down, comes from a presentation I gave back in my days in corporate and technical communication. There is a tendency in those fields to debate if storytelling is a relevant or useful tool for business and technical communication. My contention was, and is, that all communication […]

Categories
Writing

On the Presumption of Writer Blogs

Hi. I’m a novelist. You’ve never heard of me. Read my blog. Because that’s the game here, isn’t it. Writers set up blogs because we are told we need a platform. We need followers We need to be someone. It’s the same Catch-22 as looking for your first job. You need experience to get a […]

Categories
Roaming

Grand Tour 2: All things Lincoln

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Grand Tour

This post originally appeared on my other blog, Every Page is Page One. The series on our Grand Tour will continue here. The second day of our Grand Tour, Monday, April 30, 2018, covered only 100 km from Bloomington to Springfield Illinois. The day was really about all things Lincoln. The route here is simple […]

Categories
Writing

Tension, texture, and tenderness

This post originally appeared on my other blog, Every Page is Page One. I’d like to float the notion that the essential ingredients of drama are tension, texture, and tenderness. I’m not advancing this as a robust theory of story or anything like that. Nor am I suggesting that there is some brilliant new insight […]