Bringing Up the Rear: The Literary Mic Drop

Many years ago, my agent offered me the following advice: "The most important sentence of your novel is the first one. The second most important sentence is the last one." There certainly have been vivid, memorable first lines, many of which we can quote by heart--from "Call me Ishmael" in Herman Melville's Moby Dick to ...

Bromance: My Favorite Fictional Couple

I recently received a question on the Goodreads website asking who was my favorite fictional couple, and why. My first reaction was to flip through all of the literary lovers I'd encountered over the years--a list that includes: Romeo & Juliet; Elizabeth Bennett & Mr. Darcy; Lancelot & Guinevere; Odysseus & ...

Meet Me in St. Louis: Toasted Ravioli, Hoosiers, and High School

If asked to name the key elements of their favorite novel, most readers would place at the top of their list vivid characters and an engaging plot. But when we think of our favorite novels, another vital element is the strong sense of place. Whether it's Huck Finn's Mississippi River ...

The Art of the Literary Pick-up Line: “Hey, call me, Ishmael”

For an author, the opening line of a novel is the literary equivalent of the snappy pick-up line in a singles bar. Indeed, some of our greatest novelists are also some of our greatest pick-up artists. My latest post at the Poisoned Pen Press blog is on the great opening lines of literature. I ...