Blog #42

There’s evidence that what we make of our lives is largely determined by where we are born and grow up. We are all influenced by our environment. Kids who spend their early years on a farm tend to become farmers. Spend time around guys who work at the local oil company and you’ll probably follow them. I came of age in South Philadelphia, surrounded by laborers of various kinds, milkmen, trash collectors, guys employed in a large nearby factory called the Middyshade. When I was nearing the end of my high school years and looking for my first job, one of my neighbors told me he had a connection with a construction company putting together an office building near City Hall. If I wanted a job, h

Blog #41

Readers with writing ambitions frequently ask about the common mistakes they might make. What are the most frequent errors made by someone trying to get published by a professional magazine? A good approach is to discuss what a fiction writer is trying to do. If we think it’s telling a good story we’ve got it all wrong. Usually, in ordinary life, when someone starts telling a story, unless he’s Jerry Seinfeld, the rest of us shut down. So what then is a writer trying to accomplish? Basically, he or she creates an experience. We don’t want the reader simply reading about a trip in a starship. We want him on board, maybe hanging out on the bridge, feeling the acceleration. Or if we’re doing a