Write What You Don’t Know: Researching Like an Expert

Let’s say you’re not Ernest Hemingway, and you can’t, for various reasons, actually travel to 1930s Spain to observe first-hand the goings-on of the Spanish Revolution. And yet, you have a burning desire to tell a story set in the chaos and fiery idealism of those times. Where do you … read more

What Do Corporate Lawyers Actually Do?

I know a guy who publishes books about archaeology. Mind you, these are not tales of Indiana Jones–like adventurers running through the jungle, dodging poison darts and Nazis as they heroically rescue a priceless artifact. No, this guy publishes the actual, day-to-day work of archaeologists: hours spent crouched in the … read more

Climate Change and the Game of Golf

No matter whether you attribute climate change to the impact of human behavior or the implacable, centuries-long cycles of nature, shifting patterns of weather and climate are effecting golf. From the craggy coasts of Scotland to the lush islands of the South Pacific, shifts in weather patterns and sea-level rise … read more

Golf Clubs and the March of Science

As I mentioned in my notes to Bad Lies, the game of golf is markedly different nowadays than when I started out, or even during my career as a touring pro. I discussed in the notes the tremendous increase in yardage permitted by the modern golf ball as compared to … read more

Staying in Shape, Then and Now

When I consider all the things we know now about the human body and its capabilities, as compared with what we knew when I was playing competitive golf, it is like standing on one edge of a huge chasm, looking across at the other side. Advances in the science of … read more

The Touring Pro Lifestyle, Then and Now

I have little doubt that many an avid weekend golfer daydreams about what it would be like to spend each day playing the beloved game of golf. Especially in the last few decades, professional golfers, and certainly the elite players who compete on the PGA Tour, have become highly admired … read more

How TV and Movies Get Court Wrong

A friend of mine has a colleague who used to work at NASA. A few years ago, my friend went to see the newly released movie Gravity, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. You might remember that the movie is mostly set in Earth orbit, where Bullock and Clooney are … read more

Advice to Novelists: Part 6—Editing Your Work

Let’s be clear on this point: writing fiction and editing fiction are two completely different tasks. So, my first piece of advice for editing your novel is: don’t do it until you’ve finished the writing.

Why? Because the writer must be unfettered, free to cast the net as wide as imaginable. … read more

Advice to Novelists: Part 5—What to Put In, What to Leave Out

A writer friend of mine who goes to writer’s conferences once told me that writing a novel—or any book, for that matter—is sort of like building a commercial structure. When an office building is being built or maybe refurbished, the workers need scaffolding so they have a place to stand … read more

Advice to Novelists: Part 4—Building Tension

Some writer or other—I can’t remember who—once defined a novel as “a prose work of indeterminate length containing one or more problems.” Anyone who has ever tried to write a novel can certainly endorse the fact that when you write a story, you’re going to have problems, and usually many … read more