CategoryWriting

The Father-Daughter Scene

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Some writers plagiarize, others borrow freely, and all are inspired by the work of others. I recently rewatched a favorite scene from The Sopranos (Season 1) when Tony is taking his daughter Meadow to visit colleges. They have a heart-to-heart in the car. She’s on to her dad and his real line of business, but he won’t admit it. Later in the episode,, while she’s meeting with the...

Ask Dave is Getting Busy

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I’ve suddenly been getting a lot of letters directed to my advice column. Clearly, people are dealing with a lot of problems these days. I can’t say I’m surprised. Recently, I advised a fellow who almost burned himself up. Then I had a letter from a VIP in New York State government, who subsequently wrote back praising my advice for him and confessing something rather personal...

Writing Lesson #12: Background Information

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One challenge for writers is to get in background information without interrupting the narrative flow or alienating your reader. This is true whether you’re writing a novel, a business email, or a newspaper column. In a novel, the reader might be in the middle of a tense scene and then suddenly the story grinds to a halt because the author adds a flashback. Or worse, the author starts with...

Grammarly: Not Just for Grammar Geeks

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I’ve been using Grammarly for about three years in Google Docs and Gmail, and now I’ve added it to Microsoft Word. This clever tool catches a fair number of items that require my attention. I know, hard to believe, given that I’m a writer. But I always say every writer needs a good editor, and even if Grammarly isn’t an editor, it can help improve your writing (this is not...

When the Daughter Dates Someone the Parents Don’t Like

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Still waiting to hear from publishers about THE SUITOR. Almost two months. Doesn’t mean anything–and I’m used to waiting. I think publishers are pretty busy these days canceling the cruel authors and marketing the marginalized ones. But that’s not the point. The point is how do parents handle a situation when their child gets involved with someone they think might be a bad seed...

4/20 is a Special Day

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Rerunning this post from last year. Why not? April 20 (4/20) is weed day. The day got its name in the 1970s in California when a group of high school students met after school around 4:20 to get high and 4/20 became a code phrase they could use in front of their parents. Its reputation spread from there. 420 Magazine, founded in 1993, has a mission around creating cannabis awareness. I...

Shootings

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Another shooting and another and another. Our gun culture is ruining us. How many lives lost? How many more lives irrevocably harmed? Shootings have become so commonplace they are engrained in our psyche. Every time we go to the store, or to work, or school, or to gather to worship, whenever we go anywhere, the possibility of getting shot is real. Statistically unlikely, but real. I used a...

Inter-State

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Make room please for one more anonymous submission to the genre of road trip movies and novels and musings that blazed before me, my quest a distant mirage, obstacles to cross, the road itself a character of quirks and demands, intent, driven, the vehicle a featured star, its wheels droning upon miles of pavement, painted lines, blurring past gray and rusted guardrails, the interstate slicing and...

A Little Story From a Long Time Ago

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Going through old files I found this story the kids and I wrote together years ago. I’ve recently encouraged parents to read to their young children, to tell each other stories, to use their imaginations. We sometimes worked on stories together, each contributing characters and plot lines. We put together a little collection of creepy tales. Here is one of our favorites, reprinted in its...

Is That Story True?

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A question I’ve gotten a lot about my novels is a variation on “What parts are true?” This question irked me. I would retort with snappy answers: “None of it’s true, that’s why it’s called fiction.” Or: “It’s all true! I’m incapable of imagination.” Or: “Whatever part you believe is true.” I was bothered because asking about what’s true in a novel takes attention away from the work and places it...

7 Thoughts on Listicles

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1. A listicle is a short form of writing hugely popular on the web that uses a numbered list as its structure but contains enough copy to also be an article. I can’t tell you how many listicles I’ve written for clients over the years. Some have been substantial, but a lot of them I could have written with one hand. 2. Listicle is a portmanteau—a word made from combining two other words, in this...

Safe Travel in the Time of COVID?

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I just finished watching the Netflix six-episode series “Behind Her Eyes,” a supernatural psychological thriller based on a novel by Sarah Pinborough. The series was entertaining enough, but it tried to pull off a genre-switch halfway through that strained credulity. You may or may not appreciate the big twist at the end. What did capture my attention in the series was the astral projection...

Writing Advice: 5 Cents

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I had a strange email recently from a woman I did not know. I usually delete emails from strangers without even opening them. But this person was clever in getting my attention by appealing to my vanity. She wrote a compelling subject line. “I liked your novel Clean Break.” Of course I opened the email. I could use a little stroking. Who couldn’t? But that wasn’t the purpose of her...

There’s a Lot Going On Behind a Simple Email

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That’s an email I got from my literary agent, about a year ago. How I appreciate the beauty and precision of a clear and concise email. I’ve given workshops called “Mastering Business Email.” I hammer on the need to be clear and concise in your purpose, meaning, and word choice.  My agent, although she didn’t attend my workshop, checked all the boxes on that email. There’s also the...

The Black Chemistry

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One of those goddamn depth-of-winter days when the snow is sooty, the sky relentless gray, the trees dismal brown. You force yourself out for a run and make it as far as the cemetery but sure enough your foot aches, you step in a deep cold puddle, and you’re going to die someday. This chaotic black chemistry that is you. Then the freezing rain starts like someone mocking me. I lower my gaze...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

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