22 September 2011 3 Comments

Screenplaying

Whenever a novelist’s biography tells me that he’s “working on a screenplay,” my heart falls. I feel pity for the poor fellow who’s no doubt heading for disappointment (most scripts don’t get made) and for the novel, which exerts such a lesser lure than the glamour of the movies that a perfectly good novelist will […]

4 April 2011 1 Comment

The Heart to the Rest of the World: the Writing Life with Tony Parsons

When you ask writers what underpins the greatest books, they may talk about structure, style, character-building. The best of them identify the novelist’s emotional understanding of himself and his ability to translate it to the page. That’s what strikes readers – perhaps without their even knowing it – and gives them an immediate connection to […]

28 February 2010 0 Comments

How does that grab you? Great openings to new books

The first line of a great novel tends also to have a lot of punch — to “grab” you. My favorite is “The Sun Also Rises,” which manages to tell you a great deal about one of the main characters, but even more about the narrator: “Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. […]