How Fiction Works


“How Fiction Works“, by James Wood, is a recent book with a refreshingly non-instructional approach. I was surprised to find no discussion sympathetic to my notions of ‘why fiction works’. Wood doesn’t even mention the defining moment in a story – the protagonist’s turning point – with which I appear to be as obsessed as […]

I Want to Write About Faith


I want to write about faith, about the way the moon rises over cold snow, night after night… “I want to write about faith…”  This is Whidbey Island poet, David Whyte, teaching me a thing or two about writing. The implication in such an opening line is that he can’t write about faith. That’s his […]



It’s got six syllables and seven vowels, so I know what you’re saying – it better mean something good. In fact, it just might be the Holy Grail of fiction. A writer whose story lacks verisimilitude has no choice but to keep rewriting until it rings true. Ver-i-si-mi-li-tude: noun, the appearance of truth. This word […]

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