How to Write a Book

Since I’m an English professor and this advice derives from my experience, the following will be more pertinent to writers of non-fiction than it will to writers of fiction.  For good advice on fiction (and on writing in general), please read Elmore Leonard’s “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction.” 1. There is no one foolproof way…

Crockett Johnson & Ruth Krauss: biography outtakes, Part 6

If the Drying-Paint Watchers’ Association has a website, they’re about to face some competition! I’m publishing more cuts from the biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss (due out from UP Mississippi next year).  Today, we’ll look at some of the notes I’ve omitted.  I’ve also been making cuts to the body of the manuscript,…

Biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: News, Thanks, and Apologies

A Crockett Johnson–Ruth Krauss biography update with good news, thanks, and apologies.  Let’s do the apologies first. Apologies.  It was unprofessional of me to air this disagreement publicly.  It’s one thing to blog about the editing process, and another to air one’s editorial differences in a public forum.  I’ve already apologized to my editor (who…

Biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: Update, Featuring First 5 Paragraphs of the Book!

I haven’t blogged about the biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss for a while because I’ve been waiting.  I sent in the latest version of the manuscript back on the first of the year; my editor finally read it in late March, and sent it out to a reader.  I received the reader’s report…

In or Out?: Crockett Johnson, Ruth Krauss, Sexuality, Biography

As I wait to hear back from my editor (latest revision submitted January 1st), I continue to tinker with the biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss.  Does my manuscript’s silence on the homosexuality of two important figures — Maurice Sendak (who illustrated nine of Ruth’s books) and Ursula Nordstrom (editor of Ruth, Dave, Maurice) —…

On a First-Name Basis with People I’ve Never Met: A Personal Introduction to Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

Yesterday, I sent off (what I hope is) the final revision of the manuscript for my biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss.  After I did, I began reading Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl (2010), which Donald Sturrock (the author) begins by describing his own relationship with his subject.  It helped me understand…

Crockett Johnson & Ruth Krauss: biography outtakes, Part 3

Working in a little biography-editing while at the American Studies Association conference in San Antonio.  (Why, yes, I would like some more workahol.  Thank you for offering!)  I’ve just condensed three paragraphs on Crockett Johnson‘s visit to Commonwealth College (radical labor school in Mena, Arkansas, 1922-1940) down to a single paragraph.  For the record, that…