What I’m Reading Right Now: On Moral Fiction

A while back, EriOn Moral Fictionka Dreifus had recommended John Gardner’s On Moral Fiction, a slim volume dedicated to writing and literary criticism from the POV that an artist has a moral responsibility to their audience, and that art criticism should in part address how well the creator of a work of art has met that responsibility. The book dates from 1978, and it’s amazing how well it (thus far in my reading) stands up over time.

I’m only about three chapters in, and what strikes me most Continue reading

Oh, all right, I’ll spill the beans.

So, yesterday’s post mentioned that I’ve been working on a few big projects. I can’t tell you about all of them, but I can tell you about two:

  1. I’ve compiled several of the stories I have published previously in international Jewish kids’ magazines into an anthology, selecting the ones that got the most fan mail, and which teachers have mentioned they’d like to use in their classrooms. I’m self-publishing it, IY”H. Target audience: readers age 10-16. We’re just waiting on the proofs – which I’ll have to proofread – before they will be up for sale.
  2. Also on the self-publishing front, many years ago, I had a number of stories starring two characters, Esti and Bluma, which ran in a local-to-L.A. Jewish magazine. Those stories got lots of fan mail here in L.A., so I started to shop around for a publisher. I had a couple near-misses, where a publisher said they were very interested, but then backed out pretty late in the game. After that, I added some more material, changed some things around to make it more like a middle-grade novel, as opposed to a short story collection, and tried yet another publisher. As they say in Yiddish: gornisht. My husband, though, really believed in the book, and my beta testers – kids from around the neighborhood – enjoyed it thoroughly. Doing Maker Camp over the summer really inspired me, as well as this post on Positive Writer, so after working on the anthology, I pulled out this older manuscript and started editing that one.

G-d willing, I’ll have news for you soon about these upcoming releases. I’m hoping to have them available online and at bookshops in L.A. Keep your eyes peeled for updates! (And prayers for the success of this project are welcome.)

“A funny thing happened on the way to staycation…” or “Happily Ever After as a breeding ground for faith”

So, just as I gave up on blogging about books during summer break, my husband mentioned something tonight so post-worthy, that I just had to share.

Mr. K. has been reading Searching for Dragons to my children at bedtime for the last week or so. Tonight, he noticed a pattern in our youngest, just six years old: at peak points of suspense, when the story gets really “scary” for her, she starts to panic. Usually, he reassures her that there will be a happy ending. Continue reading

Orthodox Women Talk: Roundtable about media consumption

OWTHi, everyone! I know I pretty much never post twice in a day, but I’m hosting this month’s Orthodox Women Talk. Our panelists include:

  • Tali Simon
  • Melissa Amster
  • Ruchi Koval
  • Rivki Silver
  • Keshet Starr
  • Estee Lavitt
  • and yours truly.

This month’s question is this:

How much do you engage in popular music, movies and other forms of entertainment? What factors have contributed to that choice?

Wow! We’ve got a lot of variety in responses. Let’s see what our roundtable panelists have to say... Continue reading

Sol Stein sold me on “The Actor’s Studio Method for Developing Drama in Plots”

Some of my regular readers might notice that my usual response to frustration in the midst of a writing project is to start borrowing writing books from the library and systematically going through them (in addition to eating chocolate, cleaning, and spending too much time on Facebook as an avoidance strategy).

stein on writing

A new favorite writing book, chock full of original, well-informed, and practical advice.

I’m two volumes into my current stack of five. The last couple of days, I’ve been reading Stein on Writing, written by novelist, playwright, and editor extraordinaire, Sol Stein. It’s not a new book, but it’s a classic, and I picked it up due to the acclaim.

I’m not done yet, but I’m just loving this book. It’s much more practical than most of the writing books I’ve read, which tend toward the touchy-feely, and after 50 pages of familiar (but articulate) ground (which I probably could use a review of anyway), Stein starts describing all sorts of new strategies for writers to employ.

My favorite one, thus far, is “The Actors Studio Method for Developing Drama in Plots.” Continue reading