"The first 12 years are the worst."

This item is a two-fer. First up, I’m recommending the best podcast available, bar none. It’s Slate.com’s Culture Gabfest. Do not be tempted by other, lesser gabfests. This is the one.

This week’s installment includes a discussion of a series that ran recently in the Guardian. Writers offered up their ten cardinal rules for writing fiction. Gems include:

  • Jonathan Franzen: “Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.”
  • Hilary Mantel: “Are you serious about this? Then get an accountant.”
  • Joyce Carol Oates: “Keep a light, hopeful heart. But ­expect the worst.”

The full lists are here.–David E