Do women write the best novels starring women? Do men write the best novels starring men? In many cases, yes. But while there's a lot to be said for "living the gender," there are also some great literary works featuring title characters who are the opposite sex of the author.
Once I barge past that initial feeling of immobilization, the writing assumes its own energy. Many things emerge. They seem to come from some deep mental recess. The experience can seem like a mystifying, dreamlike process, or even a strange form of magic.
In Cook County's juvenile false confession cases, police officers and prosecutors have taken confession contamination to a new level. Not only did they feed facts to suspects, they scripted entire narratives for them.
Margot has a compulsive fixation in being non-Jewish. She obsessively worries that someone will notice her arm, tattooed by the Nazis, so she literally with a sweater, keeps herself under wraps. The sweater serves as a thin veil to keep her apart from others.
I, Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick, was blessed with a fine clerical career. In my hometown of Dublin, I was selected, at age 18, to study in Rome. In Rome I spent many summers reading on the Spanish Steps and praying in St. Peter's.
Anyone who's a writer will tell you it does have advantages but can be tough. For many, the challenges are nearly insurmountable. Whether an author of books, articles or a blog, the best of us embrace those challenges and allow them to shape us.
When I was first approached to write a piece about interactive fiction (IF), my first thought was of a bunch of geeky teenage boys playing text versions of Dungeons and Dragons on their computers in a moldy rec-room.
Powerful novels demand that we slow down and process how we are creating and destroying in our lives. The rabbis taught that amidst so much destructive behavior we must stop and reflect upon the world we exist in.
I'm partial to novels featuring characters getting another chance at love. Those protagonists may or may not do better in their next relationship, but at least the "happily ever after" potential can put a smile on a reader's face.
A crucial issue was how to project the number of prisoners in 10-15 years. As it turns out, there was a simple algorithm for that: What percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds currently cannot read? "And certainly couldn't read for pleasure," he added.
The potential for violence lives within all of us, and I'm no exception. Violence in my novels is contrived--it's pure fiction--but reflects a core truth about human nature. It's never meant to be gratuitous, but rather serves the story.
Alice Munro's writing, like all great writing, teaches us to be human. It engages big questions in small spaces: What does it mean to be regional? What does it mean to be Canadian? What does it mean to be a mother? What does it mean to be betrayed?
Among the fictional characters we might want to avoid (if they somehow came to life) are murderers, liars, hypocrites, busybodies, racists, male chauvinists, militaristic men, rotten bosses, the money-obsessed and people who are just plain boring.
I first came to know Kergan, however, as an author. Our debut novels launched at virtually the same moment, leading to our paths intersecting on a great many occasions, and I'm happy to say that we became friends.
Some of the best novels have very believable protagonists, so it almost seems sort of/kind of possible to meet them. One of the pleasures of reading is immersing ourselves in a fictional world to the point where we can imagine being part of that world -- at least as a fly-on-the-wall.
With on-demand publishing companies putting out the works of over 400,000 self-published titles and MFA programs cranking out a slew of new writers, readers are more and more in demand... especially readers who do not want to be writers and who are satisfied with the pure joy of reading.