Saturday, August 13, 2005

Invisible writing

One of the best mystery novelists around today is William G. Tapply, creator of the Brady Coyne mystery series. Tapply's novels live up to the cover blurbs -- well-formed characters, tightly woven plots and elegant writing. Tapply practices what many of us who teach writing often preach, and he gives voice to some of those practices in an essay on his web site called "Invisible Writing." The essay tells the story of what Tapply learned from his father -- also an excellent writer -- when he was beginning his craft. The essay emphasizes two major points I make with my students: pay attention to verbs (read more on this) and try to make your writing invisible to the reader. The term I use for the second point is "modesty." A good writer should try to put the content in the foreground and the writer in the background. Tapply's essay and his novels are well worth reading.

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