. . .on her blog, Writing Slices:
THE LIAR’S COMPANION is a collection of columns Lawrence Block wrote for Writer’s Digest magazine from 1987 to 1990. This was before Block was a Grand Master of the mystery genre, so they’re written from the point of view of someone who is a full-time writer, but not a household name. Although the columns are old, they feel fresh. Block tackles enduring subjects with solid advice and a kind tone.
Most of the columns are about craft matters–how much research to do, how ideas become plot, the danger of writing in present tense, and how to write three-dimensional characters. Block covers beginnings, middles, and ends in three short chapters that are as good as entire books on the topic. He often addresses his fictional students by name, and lets them ask questions as proxies for the reader. Some people might find this too cute by half, but I loved it. It made me wish I could sit in that imaginary classroom and be Mr. Block’s student. . .