School shootings — how could things change?

So, a 17-year-old shot ten people in a school in Texas. Liberals for gun control are saying the same thing as before about banning assault weapons. Nothing is different, so nothing will change. Donald Trump is saying what he said last time about background checks, no guns until age 21, and arming teachers. Nothing is … Continued

Working on vacation

I’m on vacation in Vermont right now. And I’m working. I’ll explain how that works out for me. (Your mileage may vary.) It helps to know a few things: I am completely self-employed. Nobody works for me, and I like it that way; I’m accounts receivable, sales, and the main source of talent for my … Continued

Tom Wolfe had the right stuff

Tom Wolfe died this week. His prose was a revelation. He was 88. Back in 1979, at the height of powers, he published The Right Stuff, a novel about the experimental pilots at the center of the space program. When I taught writing to homeschooled teenagers, I used a passage from this book to jolt … Continued

The letdown

I’m turning in a very big project in a couple of days. I know what to expect. Sadness. It’s not regret. The book is great. The prose lives. Sure, it has warts, but it’s a major piece of work. I feel pride. I feel accomplishment. But also, sadness. When you’ve wrestled with a project this … Continued

The three kinds of facts and how to verify them

When people find out I write books, they often ask, “Do you write fiction?” My answer: “Not on purpose.” I deal in facts. But not all facts come from the same place. Here are the three kinds of facts (plus one kind of non-fact) and how to make sure they’re true. Sourced facts What they … Continued

Writing a book with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive

I’ve been working on a collaborative book project with two other authors. On this project, I’m the principal writer; they are my clients. Here are a few things I learned about the superiority of Google Docs and Google Sheets for collaborative authoring. Using Google Drive for shared access to research My collaborators and I work … Continued

That study about using two spaces after a period? It’s bullshit.

The Washington Post reported on a study showing that adding two spaces after a period improves readability. Now all the use-two-spaces philistines are using this to justify their depraved practices. But the study proves nothing. Three researchers at Skidmore College,┬áRebecca L. Johnson, Becky Bui, and Lindsay L. Schmitt, published a paper called “Are two spaces … Continued