No doubt you’ve heard the maxim that good writers need to be good readers. Stephen King goes a step further, advising that “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” In “How to Make a Living as a Writer,” James Scott Bell recounts how he read lots of books strategically in order to better understand plot points and know “when it might pay off to leave a ‘blot‘.” I agree with both gentlemen that it is important to read. Fortunately, I love books so reading to write is far from a dismal task. That said, as I stretch my creative wingsRead More →

Like anyone else, I have favorite movie categories. Besides legal thrillers, I enjoy films about investigative reporting, especially when I know they are based on fact. As someone who has testified as a forensic economist, my interest in solving puzzles no doubt accounts (at least in part) for their appeal. Lately though, as I write my own thriller book (with hopes of a Hollywood call), I have been thinking a lot about plot and pacing. Ever an advocate for good preparation, I have been reading books about writing. I completed several workshops and also took notes while watching high-rated movies spun from books or articles such as “The Rainmaker,” “The Insider” andRead More →

Seth Godin is one of my favorites when it comes to snappy punditry. In a recent blog post entitled “Hot: A theory of propulsion,” he wisely pens that “Words on a page or on a screen are asleep, inert, doing nothing at all until they interact with you, the reader.” He continues with two more pearls. “That takes effort” and “Without motion, the words get moldy.” The notion that promoting a piece of work is important is neither new nor trivial. However, this author of eighteen books reminds writers once again that it is our responsibility to advocate for our creations. The good news isRead More →

Entertainment media was abuzz this weekend about the end of one popular series and the next installment of another. After six seasons, loose ends were neatly wrapped up for the British upstairs – downstairs crowd at Downton Abbey. A few hours earlier, Netflix offered up another round of U.S. political intrigue in the form of a fourth season of House of Cards. (The original House of Cards was a shorter production about UK politics that debuted in 1990.) While both shows interweave complex plots that involve a large cast of characters, the material is by far darker in the case of House of Cards. Indeed, some might find itRead More →

As most authors will attest, writing can be a lonely and frustrating endeavor and financial rewards are uncertain. A rational person might conclude that putting pen to paper is an exercise in futility if viewed only from an economic lens. Fortunately for readers, the artist’s hunger to flex creative muscles or a desire to make a difference with words ensures a continued supply of books and articles. This reality does not necessarily mean that what gets published will sell well or reflects talent or both. It does however mean that lots of people want their proverbial voices heard and are willing to incur an opportunityRead More →

I agree with Stephen King’s statement: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” I read as often as I can, starting with a few morning papers. Throughout the day, I peruse at least two or three short investment industry articles and spend about an hour watching snatches of business news during work breaks. My bedtime treat is a chapter or two of a good “whodunnit.” Lately, I’ve become a more active reader in search of plot and prose. When I read a new word or a catchy phrase, I circle it inRead More →

I’ve spent the last week knee-deep in research for my soon to be finished book proposal and a draft literary agreement from a successful agency. Fortunately, there are lots of articles about contracting, courtesy of generous editors, publishers and writing consultants. My biggest stumbling block right now is whether to commit to a single firm for all of my future works rather than signing on the dotted line for one or two imminent projects. My preference, based on years of experience as a start-up company CEO and later on, a consultant, is to start small with someone and grow the relationship over time. This approachRead More →

It’s such a joy to look up from my desk every once in a while and catch a pop of pink, red, yellow, purple, white or green. I vary the colors of flowers I buy and try to feed my floral fix every week. It’s a little way to reward myself for hard work done and more to do. When I attended a writer’s event a few months ago, I asked the panelists about where they write and whether they exercise. My goal was to understand how accomplished authors stay productive or disconnect from the word game when they need to lessen stress. Not surprisingly,Read More →