Category From the Desk

Bestselling Author Trope

Typewriter and notebooks

Disclaimer: I have a sneaking suspicion that this post may garner some criticism from my fellow authors, and so I should like to begin by stating, unequivocally, that what follows is in no way meant to be interpreted as a disparagement of the character, substance, or work ethic of any author. It is opinion only, and it should be taken as such—with a grain of salt, an open mind, and, one might hope, some small consideration.

Naturally, I welcome any dissenting opinions to the comment section.

That being said, let us examine for the moment what I have become fond of calling the Bestselling Author Trope. The reader has, I’m sure, at some point experienced the phenomenon of meeting or conversing with an author, usually of obscure origin, who introduces himself or herself as Bestselling Aut...

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Struggling With Compassion

Zhuangzi dreams of a butterfly

Once, there lived two monks. Deep within the forest, they sought solitude from worldly troubles and spent each day in quiet contemplation of the Great Mystery. The elder of the two, a venerable and aged man, had always upon his face an expression of equal parts joy and sorrow, a sad smile that perplexed his young apprentice.

While out one day, wandering the arboreal paths, gathering nuts and berries, fallen branches for firewood, roots, and medicinal herbs, the old monk sat down to rest and meditate beneath the shadow of a great tree. The apprentice, impetuous in his youth, resolved to explore a bit of the forest and to wonder at the marvels of the natural world.

The day slipped away, and the younger monk found himself intently studying a cocoon that he found hanging under a broad leaf...

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Grandfather’s Wooden Bowl

Grandfather's Wooden Bowl

Long ago, there lived a man in the Middle Kingdom who had come from humble beginnings. Through careful spending and an industrious character, he rose to become a merchant of some renown, and in due course he married and fathered a son. Life was good.

War, however, takes its toll, and in the spring of one year the merchant’s mother left the world of the living amid failing crops and poor health. Fearing the worst, the merchant brought his venerable father out of their ancestral village to live in the city, where he could be cared for by his son and daughter-in-law. Daily, the old farmer supplemented his grandson’s education with scraps of wisdom borrowed from the Sages...

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How to Write a Book

Typewriter

New authors are given no shortage of options when it comes to deciding how to write. The sheer number of conflicting methodologies–each of them usually touted as the end all, be all, tried and true approach–boggles the mind, as one must immediately wonder why there should be so many “foolproof” formulae if any of them really help. Truth be told, none of the popular methods do anything by themselves.

Mad Hatter

`Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, `and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’

However, all of the methods work. There are a thousand ways to write a book, because there are a thousand kinds of author, a thousand kinds of book. Here we begin to get into a murky area, as a writer only knows how to write once he’s written...

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