Category Archives: Morris


A Report. Kind Of.

Way back in December (it feels like forever ago) I blogged about reading two books at once. I promised to report on how it went.

Well, here it is. Kind of.

I was reading Embassytown, a novel by the wonderful China Meivelle, and 1922, a novella by the legendary Stephen King. I found that while I read 1922, and took a break from Embassytown. 1922, being a measly 120 or so pages, didn’t take very long to read, so the break from ‘Town wasn’t very long at all, hardly noticible. Still, I didn’t actually flip between the two.

1922 was terrifying, by the way. Emabssytown was incredibly dense, but very thought-provoking and satisfying .

So, the experiment continues! The Art Of Fielding, by Chad Harbach, and Sleepless, by Charlie Huston. So far the biggest issue is deciding which one to put in my bag – The Art Of Fielding is too big for me to fit both…


Weaving Plot and Prose: A Lesson From King

This past week, I finished Stephen King’s latest book: 11/22/63. The week before that, I read King’s mid 90’s serial novel The Green Mile. The week before that, I read King’s late 70’s horror masterpiece The Shining.

You could say I’ve been reading a lot Stephen King lately.

One of the things I noticed when reading 11/22/63 is that King finally seems to have figured out how to write fiction. He simply knows what words to put where to keep you reading. But that doesn’t mean his work is good. Now, I really liked 11/22/63. But I loved The Green Mile. And I will forever be affected by The Shining.

In The Shining, King is still figuring out this whole writing thing, and it’s apparent on the page. The writing is awkward and clumsy at times. King takes chances with unique phrasing


and  narrative techniques. He wrestles with the possibilities that are available to him, and it works. The Shining is the most terrifying book I have ever read. After reading thirty pages on the subway, I was unable to order coffee or read submissions. I was shaken.

In The Green Mile, King tackles a very serious challenge – a literary and suspenseful story about an older man looking back on his past. There isn’t much action in it, but I was on the edge of my (subway) seat the entire time. Again, King’s prose here really helped accentuate the right aspects of the book.

In 11/22/63, King’s writing has become formulaic and universal. There are parts of 11/22/63 that are truly gripping and very, very real, but there are other parts of it where the story fall flat because King is utilizing his perfect writing. And while that may work all of the time, it’s not necessarily appropriate every time.

So what I’m learning from diving headfirst into the deep, deep pool that is The Works Of Stephen King is that prose and plot must always be dancing with each other. When King adapts his writing to suit his story and vice-versa, the effect shines. When he doesn’t, when he sticks with his tried and true prose style, well, it doesn’t fall flat – it is Stephen King, after all – but it simply doesn’t work as perfectly.

But, of course, everyone has their own opinion on craft vs. plot. What about you? Would you endure a terrible plot because the writing is beautiful? Would you drag through clunky prose because the story is great?


I’ll Begin With A Question


First of all, I want to say how honored I am to be a part of DGLM. Jane, Miriam, and Co. have been amazing during my first week; extremely welcoming and immensely helpful. I can’t wait to see where this will take me, and I can’t wait to share it with you as I go along.

Which brings me to the second thing:

This blog is for you, not me. I’d certainly like to rant and rave about the nuances of comic book art and the artistic nature of video games, but I’m here to talk about the things YOU want to talk about, not the things I want to talk about.

So let’s talk. You start.

What do you want to talk about?

PS: I noticed someone asked about what kind of Judaica I’m interested in. If it is philosophical and rooted in Maimonides, send it over.

Welcome, Morris Shamah!

I am delighted to welcome Morris Shamah as the newest member of  the Dystel & Goderich Literary Management team.  Morris joins us today as our royalties manager. He is also going to begin building his own list of clients.

Morris graduated from New York University and previously interned at two literary agencies where he acquired some well rounded experience in our business.  He is interested in thrillers, mysteries, men’s fiction, mainstream super hero illustrated novels and up-market graphic novels.  He is also interested in Judaica.

Please join me in welcoming Morris to our “family.”  And be on the lookout for his first blog post which will be up later this week.