Friday, March 25, 2011


Hi folks,

As thinking creatures, most of us look for easier ways to complete tasks. That includes writing. Nothing wrong with that—it’s a mark of intelligence. Sometimes, though, that approach can get us in trouble. We seem to have a need for shortcuts and sometimes end up relying on bumper sticker kinds of slogans to guide us in our writing.

Sayings like: Write what you know. That’s about the silliest advice ever given a writer. If we wrote “what we knew,” we’d be unable to write about murder… unless we’d murdered someone. We’d find it impossible to write stories set in the future or the distant past… unless we’d lived a thousand years or had a time machine. We couldn’t write from the opposite gender’s pov. Or, from the pov of an animal. We couldn’t write about anything we didn’t personally know about. The proper advice is: Write what you can convince the reader you know. Problem is, that doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker as easily…

Another of those bumper sticker slogans thrust upon writers is: Show, don’t tell. Like most of these nifty sayings, there’s a germ of truth buried there. The fact is, there are plenty of times in fiction when telling works much better than showing and is the proper thing to do. You can’t show everything. If you did, you’d end up with a… screenplay. This is one reason novels are longer than screenplays. Three-four hundred pages versus a hundred. A lot of those additional pages are devoted to… telling. Exposition/summary. It’s one of the advantages of a novel over a screenplay for a literary or reading experience.


It was not that he was a cowed or naturally timorous person, far from it; but he had been for some time in an almost morbid state of irritability and tension. He had cut himself off from everybody and withdrawn so completely into himself that he now shrank from every kind of contact. He was crushingly poor, but he no longer felt the oppression of his poverty. For some time he had ceased to concern himself with everyday affairs. He was not really afraid of any landlady, whatever plots he might think she was hatching against him, but to have to stop on the stairs and listen to all her chatter about trivialities in which he refused to take any interest, all her complaints, threats, and insistent demands for payment, and then to have to extricate himself, lying and making excuses—no, better to creep downstairs as softly as a cat and slip out unnoticed.

That kind of looks like “telling” or “exposition” to me. And it is. It’s also from a pretty good country writer—a guy named Dostoevsky and it’s from a book which has enjoyed healthy sales, a little tome titled Crime and Punishment. Bet that bumper sticker (Show, don’t tell) wasn’t on his writer’s buggy…

Sayings like: Avoid adverbs and be sparing of adjectives. Which just happens to be the point of today’s discourse.

Why on earth would a writer avoid using adverbs? They’re a legitimate part of speech and, if used properly can be among the strongest tools in the writer’s toolbox. Most will claim they’re the weakest, but I’ll show you some examples where no other part of speech works as well.

The same deal holds with adjectives. Used properly—which means with originality—they can transform your prose.

So where does this advice come from? That’s easy. It comes from the selected reading style of many writing teachers. By “selective reading” I mean lazy reading. A person who sees part of a piece of advice, but either ignores the rest of it or just doesn’t see it—it’s invisible to him or her. If it doesn’t come from lazy reading, it perhaps comes from a predilection for… lazy teaching. It’s just so much easier to tell our little charges to eschew adverbs and most adjectives, rather than actually reading the writer’s work and showing him or her which work well and which don’t and why. To do that would be… work. Or, perhaps this advice comes from the fruit of the same tree—the instructor simply parrots what was taught him or her and accepts everything his or her mentor passed on as gospel without challenging it. Again, a form of laziness.

John Gardner said, “Adverbs are either the dullest tools or the sharpest tools in the novelist’s toolbox.” Mark Twain said, “When you catch an adjective, kill it.” William Zinsser said, “Most adjectives are… unnecessary. Like adverbs, they are sprinkled into sentences by writers who don’t stop to think that the concept is already in the noun.”

Here’s how several generations of writers have read these guys’ advice.

Don’t use adverbs and adjectives.

Which… isn’t exactly what they said. They’re like the Paul Harvey’s of writing instruction. Well, they’re like half of a Paul Harvey. They kind of forget to include that famous “rest of the story.”

You wonder if those who keep parroting this advice on adverbs and adjectives have read what these guys actually said. All of those folks quoted are good, if not, great writers and teachers. Makes sense that what they’re telling us is sound, right? Well, if we actually read what they said precisely. Nary a one of them said: Don’t use adverbs and adjectives. Just about every one of them had a disclaimer. Gardner: “…or the sharpest tools in the novelist’s toolbox.” Zinsser: “Most adjectives…” Notice he didn’t say all; he said most. That sort of means that some adjectives and adverbs work and work well. Zinsser also went on to say: “…they are sprinkled into sentences by writers who don’t stop to think…” And, that’s the source of the problem. Writing instructors who pass on these “rules” haven’t stopped to think themselves perhaps, so they’re incapable of recognizing students as being any different from themselves. Writers who just maybe… do stop to think.

What each of these guys is maintaining is that adverbs and adjectives are fine to use… if used judiciously. With originality. That’s the… rest of the story. The important part that never seems to be delivered in some classes and books.

I took a lot of the information here from three sources. One, from the best writer’s textbook ever written, Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction and from a 2006 article by Ben Yagoda in the NY Times, which you can accesss at: . Also, some of the material here can be found in my writing book, Finding Your Voice.

Used thoughtfully (which some of these writing advisers don’t think you’re capable of, alas), adverbs and adjectives can sharpen and illuminate your prose magnificently, as in the following examples (italics mine):

"In those trusses I saw a reminder of a country-fairgrounds grandstand, or perhaps the penumbrous bones of the Polo Grounds roof." -Roger Angell on the gridwork at the new baseball stadium in Baltimore 

"She shook her head, and a smell of alembicated summer touched his nostrils." -Sylvia Townsend Warner 

"The Sunday's events repeated themselves in his mind, bending like nacreous flakes around a central infrangible irritant." -John Updike 

"He had the surface involvement-style-while I had the deep-structural, immobilizing synovial ballooning of a superior mind." -Nicholson Baker on Updike 
 “She had been to Germany, Italy, everywhere that one visits acquisitvely.” Elizabeth Bowen, The Last September

“She jammed the pedal to the floor, and like something huge and pre-historic and pea-brained, the Jeep leapt stupidly out of its stall.” Sharon Sheehe Stark, A Wrestling Season

“So closely had we become tied to the river that we could sense where it lay and make for it instinctively like cattle.” W.D. Wetherell, Chekhov’s Sister

“When Sula first visited the Wright house, Helene’s curdled scorn turned to butter.” Toni Morrison, Sula

“With a bladdery whack it (the boat) slapped apart and sprang away.” Sharon Sheehe Stark, A Wrestling Season

“Hank was not accepted at Harvard Law School; but goodhearted Yale took him.” John Updike, “The Other”

“On the far side of the room, under the moiling dogs the twins are playing.” Francois Camoin, “Baby, Baby, Baby”

Are you gonna tell these people not to use adjectives or adverbs?

My advice isn’t to eliminate adverbs and adjectives at all. Use 'em! Just take some time and use them in an original way. They’ll elevate your writing if you do. Just about everybody who is writing these days is culling out their adverbs and pruning their adjectives. If you can learn to use both in truly original ways, whose work do you think is going to stand out?

You might wonder if I’ve ever given any of my writing students advice to not use adverbs and adjectives. Well, sure. Nobody’s perfect! I’ve also changed. Like they say: If you’re green, you’re growing—if you’re ripe, you’re rotten.” I hope I’m green enough to not keep telling folks the same things, ad nauseum. Especially if I discover the advice was wrong. In this case, I think it is.

The next time somebody delivers a writing “absolute” to you—especially one that could easily fit into a bumper sticker--you might want to look at it with a clear and open mind. Don’t trust everything you hear. In fact, your own instincts are often much better than what others may tell you. Chances are, you’re a writer because you were a reader first, and it’s that reading experience that I suspect has given you the best body of advice you’ll ever get for your work. You’ve already internalized most of what you need to know from reading lots and lots of books. Use it. It’s trustworthy most of the time.

Hope this helps!

Blue skies,

Monday, March 21, 2011


Hi folks,

A friend of mine just recommended a zombie novel to me, and it got me to thinking. Now, I’ve never read a zombie novel (on purpose, anyway—sometimes novels I’ve picked up have turned out to be zombie-like in their execution—kind of a lumbering, living-dead piece of work...), and have no interest in them personally. Same with vampire or werewolf stories. I can suspend my disbelief for a lot of things, but not for things I know absolutely can never happen or ever exist. My imagination is limited that way. It’s because of this failing that I don’t watch horror movies. Just strains credulity too much. If I know it’s impossible to happen, I simply can’t get scared about it.

It’s like those so-called horror movies with the recurring baddie with the hockey mask, and covered with four gallons of what looks suspiciously like blood. The plot seems to be about the same in all of them. A group of college kids goes on spring vacation and are attacked by this 6’8” guy wearing a bloody hockey mask. His brother, who appears in other movies and kills the first cousins of the aforementioned college kids, has gardening shears for hands. The other members of hockey-mask guy's family are weird and not nearly as normal as these two guys.

From the beginning, I sense this is going to be a comedy and not a horror show. Most halfway-bright college kids (I know; that's an oxymoron...) go to Padre Island or Florida or Bermuda. Not these geniuses. They opt for a place that looks more like the Dismal Swamp. It always looks like a location perfect for a Roger Corman movie and not a James Bond movie. You can tell these folks most likely aren’t going to be picking up Rhodes Scholarships at graduation, just by their choice of vacation spots.

They pull up to the cabins in their Land Rover and unpack. About ten minutes later, after having some four-star sex with the Brad Pitt lookalike, one of the cute little coeds goes to use the john and finds a head floating in the toilet. She screams, they all come a’running, and… nothing. Five minutes later, everything seems to be back to normal. After popping a top and sharing some brews and having a summit meeting, they all decide to… "be more alert.” These are the people who are going to become senators and Presidents and even Vice-Presidents? Come to think of it, that makes sense…

How did this girl think that head got there? That the person was drunk and ralphing and the toilet lid fell on him? At this point, I always ask myself: What would a halfway intelligent person do? My answer—while not very original, I admit—is pile back into the Land Rover and get out of Dodge. Not these honor roll habitués. Nope. By golly, they paid their deposit so they’re staying! In fact, at any point during the next day or so when things get worse (and they always get worse, which these kids would know if they’d ever seen a horror movie, which it appears they haven’t.) Which begs the question—if these kids don’t go to horror movies, who does? They would appear to be the perfect audience. Maybe they do go to them, but their powers of retention aren’t that great. That would be appropriate to their demographic, I suppose…

But, I digress…

One by one, the hockey-mask dude kills them off. Oh, yeah—the hockey-mask dude. The town the Dismal Swamp is located near is a burg of about 28 people. This guy’s been doing his thing for at least a dozen years (as attested by the Roman numerals on each title)… and they haven’t caught him yet? This has to be the most inept police department since the famous one in Mayberry. I mean, the guy’s 6’8”, always wears a hockey mask, always is blood-covered… and you’re telling me he never has to go to the 7-11 for a loaf of bread? No one’s ever seen him except during spring break and then only after he’s bagged his quota of college students? These cops need to take a basic forensics class, watch a good TV show about crime fighters, take some notes. Read Lee Lofland's blog occasionally. Get a clue. You’re telling me this guy never visits the local Blockbuster’s or the barber shop? At least the local sporting goods store to stock up on hockey masks? If nothing else, you’d think the boys in blue (or khaki) here might be excused for their ineptitude the first time this guy showed up and began rendering coeds room temperature in particularly gross and messy ways, but after say the seventh or eighth year in a row, you’d think one of these Deputy Dogs would think to mark the station house calendar for the next year’s spring break and go on high alert come Easter. But, nope… they’re always caught by surprise. Here’s a town could use a recall election…

And then, one by one, he knocks off each student in increasingly nasty and Technicolor ways. Each one bleeds more than the last one. This is a bad guy who sneers at strangulation. Do these kids leave? No way, Jose! They paid their deposit, by golly, and they’re staying. And always, he knocks them off, one by one, until there’s only one left. The blondest blonde, with the shortest short-shorts. Always. If I was this blonde and I’d seen one of these movies before, I think I’d be uglying myself up, throw on something the Amish might wear to Sunday-go-to-meeting. Smear river mud all over my face instead of the Mary Kay. Maybe… dare I suggest it? Get in the Land Rover and go home?

Nah. Not the wannabe Miss Allen County. Her most serious thought is daydreaming what she’s going to say in her acceptance speech when she’s awarded the tiara. That thing about opening a suntanning salon for world peace and a greener, gentler world where everybody hugs trees and adopts a housebroken baby seal…

Long before the last comely coed is running for her life from the hockey-mask dude—which brings up another observation—she’s always running as fast as an gold medal Olympic sprinter and he’s lumbering in slow-mo… but he always catches her! How does this work, exactly? Is she like a rabbit, running in circles, and the hocky-mask guy like a beagle? It’s the only thing that makes sense. It’s at this point, I want to yell at the screen, “Hey, yo, babe! There’s a Land Rover in the drive.” I feel kind of like that kid in recent commercials who’s watching a Western with his parents and they’re watching a scene where two cowboys are beating each other’s brains out and the kid says to his folks, “They do know they’ve got guns, don’t they?” Kind of the same deal here...

The zombie writer-dudes have enrolled all their zombies in the hockey-mask dude School of Running. They all lumber along at a brisk pace of about 0.0003 mph, being passed on the left by stampeding turtles... and they catch the healthy people who, if they only knew it, would only have to skip back half a pace to escape their clutches...

Anyway, long before that last exciting (this is an example of irony, in case you missed it) chase scene, anyone with an I.Q. higher than the age of their eldest child is rooting for the bad guy. These college students are all from the low end of the gene pool and the bad guy is doing a society a huge favor—these kids may procreate! Now, that’s a horror movie!

And that’s why I can’t buy into stories that I know can’t possibly happen.

You know what are worse?

Movies about angels. How come nobody points out the anatomical impossibility of movie angels? Look at ‘em! They have wings, right? No problem there. How else they gonna get around to do their good deeds and report in to The Big Guy for the weekly budget meeting? But… they also have arms. How in the hell does that work? Have you ever seen a bird with wings… and arms? That’s an extra pair of appendages that never ever happens in nature. Not even in prehistoric times clear back to the 1950’s. No one’s ever found the fossil of a creature that had both wings and arms. It’s one or the other, director-dude. If you’ve got wings, you can’t have arms also. Just. Not. Possible. How on earth can one manage to suspend their disbelief if you’re expected to buy into creatures that have wings and arms? A realistic angel movie would do away with the arms and have the angels eat just like birds in all fifty states and many foreign countries do. By pecking. Ever seen an angel movie with the angels pecking? That would at least appear realistic.

You have to wonder about the originality-factor of a writer who would model his angel character after an insect. Kind of a Rube Goldberg creation. Hey, I think I'll just stick some wings on this gal and call it an angel. Now, I'll just go teach my class in creative writing and finish this puppy up after supper...

And, you never see angels eating, do you? Another hard-to-explain anomaly. There are little kid angels who supposedly grow up to be big boy and big girl angels and even old-dude angels with white beards and modest hunchbacks. How do they do that without eating some stuff? It would also help establish some credibility if we knew they took a crap once in awhile. They wouldn't actually have to show them in the process of taking a dump or a whiz, but at least show them heading for the little building out in back with the half-moon on the door once in awhile with the Reader's Digest in hand. Or wing... With a roll of Heavenly Toilet Paper...

And, what’s up with unicorns? Not only do they have a wine bottle corkscrew sprouting out of their noggins, which is actually kind of handy for the alcoholic unicorn set—they have wings. Again, in real life if you have a pair of wings hooked onto your body, you have to give up two other appendages. Both angels and unicorns have six. Count ‘em. Six.

Modeled after a katydid...

Speaking of unicorns, aren’t they supposed to always be peaceful critters? If that’s true, why are they the only equines equipped with deadly weapons? Sure don’t look peaceful.

I’m not even going to mention mermaids. Although, it occurs to me that they could perhaps use the extra two legs unicorns have and at least both would appear to be realistic, anatomically. And, I know families sometimes read this, so forgive me (avert your eyes kids), but I’ve always been curious about how a mermaid manages sex… Come to think of it, I’ve never seen one who wasn’t nude, and there doesn’t appear to be any equipment there… Like the Aleutians, who supposedly don’t have a word in their language for supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, mermaids don’t have a word for “spread ‘em,” unless they’re talking about mermaid cops and underwater law enforcement.

What’s even scarier than audiences that buy into all of this, is that there are people living among us who actually believe in vampires, werewolves, and six-appendaged angels and unicorns. And mermaids. Really. It’s the truth. They could easily be your next-door neighbor!

Now, that’s scary!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The Rubber Ducky

(From Sydney Lumet’s and Paddy Chayevsky’s writings on the subject.)

I am going to rant about the "Rubber Ducky" theory of backstory for a bit. I’m using material from Sydney Lumet and Paddy Chayevsky, which were intended for screenwriters, but apply just as much for novelists.
The "Rubber Ducky" is Paddy Chayevsky's term for when the hero or villain, at a lull in the action, explains that he is the way he is because his mother took away his rubber ducky when he was three. It's always a nice scene, well acted, beautifully lit, with a powerfully written monolog that the writer spent days on. And totally unnecessary in most stories and overused… It usually comes from not trusting the reader’s or viewer’s intelligence to “get it”…

It’s also the source for many of those godawful “prologues” in newer writer’s manuscripts. It’s often their protagonist’s Rubber Ducky and as such is a total waste of paper and/or electrons.
The character's past may be crucial to your story. Batman is haunted by the murder of his parents by a mugger when he was small. That's why he likes to dress up in latex and beat the tar out of muggers. In The Terminator, the hero's past, which is in the future, is the hellish future of the entire human race. It sets up the stakes for the whole movie. In movies like these, we do need to know about the hero's past. You will need to keep coming back to that past, to give it the weight it deserves. Both Batman and The Terminator, in fact, start with the hero's backstory before getting into the main story. 

But if all you're trying to do is give your hero more emotional depth, for the sake of emotional depth, without integrating his backstory into your story, you are running the risk of awakening the dread Ducky. 

The strongest way to create a sense of character is to give the character things to do and say on screen that give us a sense of a person. If the character's personality doesn't leap off the page, readers will feel that the character is flat. And personality is created by how he or she reacts to the obstacles encountered in the struggle. How he or she is proactive in resolving the story problem and isn’t simply reactive or passive. Development executives will ask to know more about the protagonist's past. You will surrender to the urge to put in a Rubber Ducky. Then if the picture becomes a go, the actors will get attached to the Rubber Ducky scene, because it shows they can Act. So the Ducky stays in the picture. (To its detriment.) In novels, the same thing happens when the characters are seen as flat. Many times, in my classes and in private coaching of novelists, I’ve advised the writer that their protagonist just wasn’t interesting. Almost always, the first reaction is to give him/her a Rubber Ducky, thinking that giving him some traumatic experience in his or her past will render him a more interesting character. Except… it doesn’t. Way back then, when the Ducky took place, sure, that may have been interesting. That was then, this is now. The Ducky is ancient history. The reader knows the character survived so it loses most of its emotional punch.

Almost always the core reason the character is flat is because the author is delivering him one of two ways. One, he gives us a character who is predominantly in his mind. We’re mostly witnessing the protagonist’s thoughts. He’s just not doing anything but… musing. Musing doesn’t affect the emotion of a reader. Only one thing affects the readers’ emotions—the character acting on his/her behalf to resolve a problem. With… action. The second way the protagonist is rendered uninteresting is that he engages in a lot of dialog. He “solves” story problems by… talking. It’s the same thing, basically, as a character ruminating about in his head. The only difference is the writer is delivering the same thing by having the character say those thoughts out loud. To another character. While dialog is part of action, that brand of dialog isn’t. This is a common fault of beginning screenwriters as well as novelists. Newer screenwriters, in particular, have bought into a myth that movies are mostly dialog. Plays are, but screenplays really aren’t. A successful movie works the same way as a successful novel. The audience wants to see the characters doing something. Sometimes, that “something” is dialog, but far less than many think. A movie that depends on heavy doses of dialog has a name. It’s called a “talking heads” movie. A novel that depends on heavy doses of dialog has a name as well. It’s called “unpublished.” Or, “self-published.”

A too-obvious Ducky cheapens the character. Kurt Russell's character Jack O'Neil in Stargate is suicidal because his young son killed himself accidentally with a pistol he left around the house. To make us care more about his otherwise unpleasant character, O'Neil delivers a small monologue to James Spader's character Daniel Jackson. It is important to the picture that O'Neil is suicidal, but not why; and given O'Neil's contempt for Daniel Jackson, it's unlikely that he would open up to him about his guilt and shame. The emotional truth of the situation is that Daniel Jackson would never know why O'Neil is so willing to die. It might have been more emotionally truthful for the movie never to relay this information. But I wouldn't be surprised if Kurt Russell wanted the audience to know that his character had a good reason for being such a bastard. Actors want you to have sympathy for them.

A good example of a Ducky that never comes up is Thelma and Louise. It becomes clear over the course of the movie that something terrible happened to Louise (Susan Sarandon) in Texas; that's why the two women take the long way around to the Mexican border. You begin to realize that she must have been raped in Texas, and then disbelieved in court. That she probably shot her attacker which was why she ended up in jail. But Louise never says anything explicit about it in the movie, and that makes her backstory all the stronger. It’s only delivered via hints. And, the first hint doesn’t even appear until more than a third of the way into the movie.

If development execs are asking you for the Ducky, the screenplay isn't working for them. Don't give them the Ducky, but do focus your scenes so they show the character. Go through your script again, scene by scene, and make sure that every time the hero acts, it shows us who he is. Make sure you communicate how he feels about what he's doing, and give him a fresh way of doing it, one someone else wouldn't have... If an agent or an editor gives you the same note, use the same strategy for making the protagonist interesting—one the reader will want to follow. Not to see his brilliant and riveting thoughts… but to see how he struggles against huge odds to gain his objective. And in original ways. Then, you’ll have an interesting character.

Sidney Lumet said:

In the early days of television, when the "kitchen sink" school of realism held sway, we always reached a point where we "explained" the character. Around two-thirds of the way through, someone articulated the psychological truth that made the character the person he was. [Paddy] Chayefsky and I used to call this the "rubber-ducky" school of drama: "Someone once took his rubber ducky away from him, and that's why he's a deranged killer." That was the fashion then, and with many producers and studios it still is. 

I always try to eliminate the rubber-ducky explanations. A character should be clear from his present actions. And his behavior as the picture goes on should reveal the psychological motivations. If the writer has to state the reasons, something's wrong in the way the character has been written.

And finally…

The same principles apply to memoir. A memoir that is based mostly on the author’s own Rubber Ducky, is one that is probably going to end up largely a victim story. Unfortunately, those are pretty much over. That becomes a “me” story and we’re not much interested in those these days.

Create your characters in the “present” of your story. Give him or her a compelling problem and put obstacles in their path and give them really cool and interesting (and unexpected) ways to overcome those obstacles. Keep out of their heads as much as possible. Not entirely—just less than you might be tempted to. Not as much going on in there as you might think…

Hope this helps!

Blue skies,

Sydney Lumet

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Hi folks,

Thought I’d change it up a bit and see what people’s opinions are on ebooks. I recently visited Helen Ginger’s blog where she talked about libraries making available for loan books on e-readers. You can see her post at:

Helen wanted to know what people thought about libraries making ebooks available for loans to patrons. Here’s my reply:

Helen, I agree (partially) with the bookstore owner who said: “There's always going to be a certain percentage of people that want their hands on a paper page… They want to be able to lay in bed and read their book--they want to be able to feel that page and turn that page."

I agree that there are always going to be a certain percentage of people who want their hands on a paper page... although, as the population shifts in age, that demographic will shrink... but I disagree in part with the portion of his/her statement where he said folks will want to be able to lay in bed and read their book. The truth is, it's just as easy, if not even easier, to read a Kindle in bed, especially if you furnish it with a light. Even without a light, it's just as easy and perhaps even more so to read a Kindle in bed than an actual book. You don't have to worry about the pages flipping over and losing your place, etc.

I fought the ebook revolution for a long time--thinking nothing could replace books--but since using my Kindle, have found I not only buy even more books (from an average of 2 books a week, I'm up to almost an average of 4--but it's infinitely easier to carry around and read in all kinds of places than an actual book. Like it or not, I think it's here to stay and increasingly, more and more people will gravitate toward ebook readers. Print won't disappear, and I think a time will come when the percentages of each will "settle into place," but it will take over more and more of the market. Print will always be here in one form or another, as there are many advantages of print that electronic versions can't satisfy and won't be able to in the foreseeable future--for instance, I mark books up for learning purposes (writing techniques) and while it's possible to skip around on a Kindle, it's also a lot of trouble to do so at the present time. When they come up with a way to turn down corners to mark places to go to quickly, that will be a big plus. There are other areas ebooks don't currently work as well as print, but I imagine they'll figure out ways to make them even more convenient in the future.

What do y’all think?

I’d love to see comments/opinions on any of the following areas:

1. Do you think ebooks will ever take over the lion’s share of the reading experience…

            A. For fiction?

            B. For nonfiction?

2. Do ebooks benefit writers or harm them?

3. Will ebooks eventually result in more readers or less?

4. What are the advantages of…

            A. Print over ebooks?

            B. Ebooks over print?

5. What, if anything, would convince you to buy ebooks over printed novels/books if you don’t currently?

6. Any other thoughts on ebooks vs print?

I think it will be interesting to see what people think about this.

Blue skies,

P.S. I'm well aware that I'm kind of late to this party. Kazillions and even dozens of blogs have talked about this stuff. But, just curious what you folks think, especially if you've changed your mind about ebooks. Next time, I'll talk about the effect the recent comet had on our dinosaur friends... Is this the end of Tyrannosaurus Rex as we know that lil' guy? Is that new thing they're calling "the wheel" going to last or is it just a fad? Other up-to-date, late-breaking news like that...