Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99


Jane Austen
Get on with it

P.G. Wodehouse's advice on novel writing in his Paris Review interview has useful applications for journalism: "Always get to the dialogue as soon as possible. I always feel the thing to go for is speed. Nothing puts the reader off more than a great slab of prose at the start." The only thing that journalism has in common with classical epic, I tell my students, is that they both start in medias res. The Iliad doesn't start with the judgment of Paris or the abduction of Helen; as it begins, the Greeks have already been before the walls of Troy for a decade, their great champion Achilles is in a snit, and everything is going straight to hell.* We begin in the...