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Craft

Before and After

Every writer needs a good editor. Finding a good editor is easier said than done. You might get lucky, as I have, in finding serious feedback in a creative writing class, a critique group or a writing conference. But feedback and editing are two different animals. You need the former while you’re still writing. Feedback […]

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About Karen Kao Amsterdam Author event Book tour California Creative writing workshops

2017 in Words & Pictures

This so-called Chinese proverb is actually the brainchild of American adman Fred Barnard, who dreamed it up in 1921. He wanted folks to take him seriously, hence the fake Chinese source. Madeleine Thien is no huckster though she is a novelist. In Do Not Say We Have Nothing, she says the Chinese ancients believed that […]

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About Karen Kao Amsterdam

Show Don’t Tell

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. W. Somerset Maugham And yet: everyone in the writing world will insist on show don’t tell. Put the reader in the room; let her smell the coffee or the roses or the gunpowder. It’s exactly the right way to describe the launch […]

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Craft Japan

Origami for Authors

Nihon no hanga The canal house is built of massive grey cornerstones and variegated red bricks. A clock gable stands on top with a hook sticking out. The hook is for hoisting of pianos and wardrobes and king-sized beds. The doors are too narrow and the stairs so vertiginous for anything wider than a laundry basket […]