Author Archives: quillsandqueries

About quillsandqueries

My editing experience includes a wide variety of books, articles, and commentary in both fiction and non-fiction. I work with authors of novels and short stories, students preparing for their dissertations, and corporate clients who publish in the financial and education sectors.

Genre: The Theme’s the Thing?

By “theme” I mean an underlying idea or concept that, while not necessarily the immediate focus of a body of work, is still pervasive throughout that work and provides some basis for binding the events and ideas presented into a meaningful whole. Continue reading

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Words, Words, Words

I was the weird, awkward kid, the one who always had a book or magazine on hand, and not necessarily content written for my age group — by the time I was thirteen, I had read everything Stephen King had … Continue reading

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Just To Be Clear …

A few years ago, I discovered an interesting segue in an article by philosopher George N. Schlesinger. While relating moral integrity to the selection of articles for academic journals, he recites journal editor J. Scott Armstrong’s “author’s formula” for publishing … Continue reading

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Fantasy Noir: Samuel Spade meets Gandalf the Grey

The premise of the book is that magic is real, wizards walk amongst us, and the general public is increasingly aware of the mystical aspects of the universe. Our protagonist, Harry Dresden, is a struggling private investigator who uses his otherworldly powers to help the Chicago police department investigate crimes with unnatural features. His life gets mighty complicated when a particularly grisly and bizarre double murder puts him squarely in the crosshairs of a calculating mafia don, a vengeful vampiress, and a deranged wizard. Continue reading

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Editor Dearest

We all want to believe that our written work is flawless, but being a good writer doesn’t mean producing perfect first drafts — it means carefully revising your work, sometimes sweating and grunting through multiple drafts until your writing is clear, descriptive, logically organized, and has the appropriate tone for your audience. Continue reading

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Genre Should be Made of Sterner Stuff

We still haven’t determined whether or not science fiction and fantasy are a single genre. First and foremost, we need to remember that genres are categories and often very broad ones at that, so you’ll have a tough time justifying the existence of a genre that includes only one text. What we need to do is identify patterns among the objects that might belong to a single genre. Continue reading

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Lifestyles of the (Not So) Rich and Famous

I don’t often read memoirs for fun; in fact, I can’t think of any that I have read for which I didn’t earn some kind of academic credit. But I recently read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson … Continue reading

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Much Ado about Genre

With respect to genre, we may make distinctions based in part on the author’s purpose for telling the story and on whether the story’s content is meant to be informative, philosophical, entertaining, etc. Biographies and autobiographies discuss the historical details of a real person’s life; horror novels are meant to scare the daylights out of us; manuals and “how-to” books can teach us new skills. Identifying genres, however vaguely defined they may be, can help direct us to books, movies, and television shows that will likely be of interest to us. Continue reading

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Science Fiction v. Fantasy: A Tale of Two Genres?

Science fiction and fantasy often get lumped together under a single textual taxonomy, continually spurring the debate about whether we ought to finally separate them into completely different literary categories. So, are they really two distinct genres or merely one rather bloated genre? Continue reading

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Some Rules Are Made To Be Broken

A few years ago, a good friend of mine told me about her experience learning basic Italian for a trip to “the old country”. The instructor was explaining the rules for spelling and pronunciation, and at the end of the … Continue reading

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