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Props today to E.M. Forster. We know his great novels, mostly because of the movies “A Passage to India” and “A Room With a View. ” But I love Forster for his lovely “Aspects of the Novel,” which is the best book about writing that I know.

An excerpt:

“Yes–oh, dear, yes–the novel tells a story. That is the fundamental aspect without which it could not exist. That is the highest factor common to all novels, and I wish that it was not so, that it could be something different–melody, or perception of the truth, not this low atavistic form. … We are all like Scheherazade’s husband, in that we want to know what happens next.”

Revising for perhaps the seventh time, the first chapter of a book that I can’t quite get right. I just want to remember that if the story doesn’t work, then all the other stuff doesn’t really matter.