"Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance; but it is going too far to grant him a secret society to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds." -From the much-quoted 1928 essay by SS Van Dine, noted art critic and mystery writer, on the 20 rules for writing detective stories. (via Guardian)
David Orr investigates the day jobs of some modern poets, and notes “the university job is a relatively recent development in Anglo-American poetry.” Indeed, as this playful illustration from Incidental Comics makes clear, poets have engaged in a wide array of salaried jobs – from pediatricians to bank clerks to diplomats. Previously, we took a look at writers and their day jobs, too.
One thing that pretty much everyone can agree on is that Go Set a Watchman is a controversial book. Our own Michael Bourne said it “fails as a work of art in every way except as a corrective to the standard sentimental reading of Atticus Finch.” At Slate, Dan Kois, Meghan O’Rourke and Katy Waldman debate the main questions the novel raised.
"Writing difference is a challenge, particularly in fiction. How do men write women and vice versa? How do writers of one race or ethnicity write about people of another race or ethnicity? More important, how do writers tackle difference without reducing their characters to caricatures or stereotypes?" Roxane Gay reviews Joyce Carol Oates's The Sacrifice and simultaneously explains how to write difference well. Hint: it "demands empathy, an ability to respect the humanity of those you mean to represent."
Editing poetry can be tricky, and the work is often misunderstood. Many of the best houses leave the work to the experts: actual poets. But is that the best route? Indeed, as this Telegraph article puts it, "a house’s tone and fortunes can be radically altered depending on the poet in charge of the poems of others."