“How do you hold people’s attention? This is the central question for any novelist, and there are as many answers as there are readers. Some people will say to focus on writing beautiful sentences. Others love a surprising plot. Still others say that deep characterization is the key. I think the only answer you can really give is to try not to waste people’s time.”

—Hannah Gersen, “Writing for Strangers” in the Sept/Oct Poets & Writers Magazine (2016)

Knowing it’s one of my favorite books, a friend gave me her old copy of Catcher that was printed back in 1980. This one’s survived the Martial Law and two revolutions & somehow, despite its yellowing pages and the back cover torn off, it persevered until it found its way into my hands. There’s a real poetry in that, I think. 

Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was-can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn’t matter to you and me; we were never meant to be admired-but it does to them.
—  Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
25 Reasons Why I Stopped Reading Your Book
I don't read novels like I used to. I want to, but can't. That's for a lot of reasons -- for one, it's time. I write a lot. I have a five-year-old. Life intrudes. My reading is also broader, now. W...
By chuck wendig

He and I agree on several points here. 

However, he didn’t address my main two: Is this book about a Whiny White Guy Who Saves the Day?, and Does the Writer Fridge Someone to Provide Motivation? Both will cause me to put a book down unless there is reaaallly something otherwise compelling about it,


Really, it makes a ton of sense that da Vinci’s journal would be a labyrinth in of itself. What genius Renaissance man just leaves his flying machine blueprints out in the open for any peon to flip through? Gamers who can follow that line of logic are sure to find plentiful jollies playing …