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Where ideas come from: One author’s journey

James Callan is a fiction writer who was introduced to newsletter readers several weeks ago. He is the author of the Father Frank mysteries, the first of which is Cleansed by Fire, a roaring good adventure with lots of action and interesting characters. Here are a few questions that James was kind enough to answer. […]

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Lillian Ross, reporter and precursor of the 1960s New Journalism movement

Was she the mother of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s — the movement that showcased the deep reporting of people like Truman Capote and Gay Talese? Many people thought so. Lillian Ross, who died Sept. 20, 2017, at the age of 99, was doing that kind of reporting and writing for the New […]

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Philip Yancey on reading and building a ‘fortress of habits’

Read. Think. Meditate/Pray. Listen. Who among us does enough of these vital activities? Who has the time? Who has the power to turn away from our Facebook feeds, tweets and texts, television ads, sidebars and come-ons — even our Distractor-in-Chief — to do the things we know would nourish us emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually? Religious […]

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Another passing: the NYT copy desk

The copy desk saved me — more than once. In old-times newspaper terms, the copy desk in a newspaper’s newsroom was a horseshoe shaped table around which sat a number of editors who read what reporters wrote. On the other side of the table in the “slot” was the chief copy editor who handed out […]

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Clear thinking, clear writing – and words relevant for today

For a long time we have gone along with some well-tested principles of conduct: that it was better to tell the truth than falsehoods; that a half-truth was no truth at all; that duties were older than and as fundamental as rights; that, as Justice Holmes put it, the mode by which the inevitable came […]

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Reviews, they always help; Battlelines: the complete Gettysburg

Jim Stovall’s email newsletter for July 14, 2017 Hi there, I hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. Reviews Writers always want people to read their books, and they want their readers to love what they read. But what the writer needs is honesty. That’s why I alway suggest […]

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E.B. White

E.B. White on a writer’s responsibility

One of the great writers — a true craftsman — of the the 20th century, E.B. White, had this to say on the responsibility that writers have: “A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. I feel no obligation to deal with politics. I do feel […]

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words

Literary journalism, explained

If it is to be literary journalism, the writer must be a journalist, not a fiction writer. That is, the writer cannot make anything up. The facts, descriptions and quotations must be true. They must be things that happened. Sometimes, for the sake of the story, writes create “composite” scenes or characters. If they do […]

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The Silent Sentinels outside the White House, 1917

In which I answer the question, “What’s next?”, part 2: the suffrage ladies and me

The suffrage ladies may not be done with me. Those were the women who, between 1910 and 1920, affected the most profound change in the make-up of the electorate in the history of the Republic. In 2013, Seeing Suffrage was published by the University of Tennessee Press. The book was about the 1913 Washington suffrage […]

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Author: I didn’t want to resort to self-publishing, but it’s an exhilarating change

Louise Walters: My debut novel did very well with conventional publishers, but they weren’t interested in the ‘difficult second’ – so I’m going it alone Source: I didn’t want to resort to self-publishing, but it’s an exhilarating change Louise Walters describes what it’s like to have a second novel turned down after success with a […]

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