"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

E.B. White's Advice to a Young Writer

What do you do when you're 17 years old, baffled by life, and certain only of your dream to become a professional writer? If you had been "Miss R" 35 years ago, you would have composed a letter to your favorite author, seeking his advice. And 35 years ago, you would have received this reply from E. B. White:

Dear Miss R---:

At seventeen, the future is apt to seem formidable, even depressing. You should see the pages of my journal circa 1916.

You asked me about writing--how I did it. There is no trick to it. If you like to write and want to write, you write, no matter where you are or what else you are doing or whether anyone pays any heed. I must have written half a million words (mostly in my journal) before I had anything published, save for a couple of short items in St. Nicholas. If you want to write about feelings, about the end of summer, about growing, write about it. A great deal of writing is not "plotted"--most of my essays have no plot structure, they are a ramble in the woods, or a ramble in the basement of my mind. You ask, "Who cares?" Everybody cares. You say, "It's been written before." Everything has been written before.

I went to college but not direct from high school; there was an interval of six or eight months. Sometimes it works out well to take a short vacation from the academic world--I have a grandson who took a year off and got a job in Aspen, Colorado. After a year of skiing and working, he is now settled into Colby College as a freshman. But I can't advise you, or won't advise you, on any such decision. If you have a counselor at school, I'd seek the counselor's advice. In college (Cornell), I got on the daily newspaper and ended up as editor of it. It enabled me to do a lot of writing and gave me a good journalistic experience. You are right that a person's real duty in life is to save his dream, but don't worry about it and don't let them scare you. Henry Thoreau, who wrote Walden, said, "I learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." The sentence, after more than a hundred years, is still alive. So, advance confidently. And when you write something, send it (neatly typed) to a magazine or a publishing house. Not all magazines read unsolicited contributions, but some do. The New Yorker is always looking for new talent. Write a short piece for them, send it to The Editor. That's what I did forty-some years ago. Good luck.


E. B. White
( Letters of E. B. White, Revised Edition, edited by Martha White, HarperCollins, 2006).

Whether you're a young writer like "Miss R" or an older one, White's counsel still holds. Advance confidently, and good luck.

E.B. White on Writing for the Average Reader

In an essay titled "Calculating Machine," White wrote disparagingly about the "Reading-Ease Calculator," a device that presumed to measure the "readability" of an individual's writing style.
There is, of course, no such thing as reading ease of written matter. There is the ease with which matter can be read, but that is a condition of the reader, not of the matter. . . .

There is no average reader, and to reach down toward this mythical character is to deny that each of us is on the way up, is ascending. . . .

It is my belief that no writer can improve his work until he discards the dulcet notion that the reader is feebleminded, for writing is an act of faith, not of grammar. Ascent is at the heart of the matter. A country whose writers are following the calculating machine downstairs is not ascending--if you will pardon the expression--and a writer who questions the capacity of the person at the other end of the line is not a writer at all, merely a schemer. The movies long ago decided that a wider communication could be achieved by a deliberate descent to a lower level, and they walked proudly down until they reached the cellar. Now they are groping for the light switch, hoping to find the way out.

( Poems and Sketches of E.B. White, Harper Colophon, 1983)

R.I.P. Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci, right, during the filming of “The Last Emperor” in the Forbidden City of Beijing in 1987. It was one of many of his films that Hollywood warmly embraced.Credit: Neal Ulevich/Associated Press style="color: #1d2129; font-size: 17px;">
Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian filmmaker whose sensual and visually stylistic movies ranged from intense chamber dramas to panoramic historical epics, died on Monday at his home in Rome. He was 77.

Dennis Palumbo's Essay When Your Writing Doesn't Love You Back in Suspense Magazine

Blurbworm Reviews Michael A. Simpson's Sons of My Fathers

Sons of My Fathers by Michael Simpson

I read this first book, Sons of My Fathers, by Michael Simpson with much enjoyment. It was an easy narrative spanning over 100 years and moves back and forth easily between the story of Baylis Simpson in 1864, to Mike, Ron and Alex six generations later.

Each story is harrowing in its own way, with Baylis’ family and home destroyed, physically and mentally by deserters during the Civil War, and the latter Simpsons harrowing march through the Vietnam War years. Sometimes I felt a little bit of American Graffiti but the two stories were too exciting and informative to keep comparing.

It’s indeed hard to realize that this is Mr. Simpson's first book, though he is a screenwriter, director and producer of note. In his narrative of his ancestor, Baylis, I could feel and hear and practically smell, the horrors and tragedy of his family and the war as he tries to make his way back home. Then moving to Mike as he gives us his tale from age 10, and the night of The Dixie Flyer, to growing up with his older brother and his best friend Alex, both heroically cool to the young boy. Then the decision that his brother, Ron, makes during the Vietnam War that almost destroys his parents.

Though I knew where his dad was coming from-a Marine in WWII and a fine upstanding, godly member of his town in Georgia-I was also remembering how I felt at that time, which was about the time of the Mai Lai Massacre.

Thank you, Mr. Simpson for your clear vision of these times and events, and your solid narrative that made me see things through your eyes. Great book!

If interested you can buy here.

Guest Post: Ignorance isn’t bliss by Jerry Amernic

Four years ago I visited a major Canadian university and asked students questions about World War II. FDR? Never heard of him. Churchill? There’s a statue of him but I don’t know what he did. The Allies? Can’t tell you who they were. D-Day and the Beaches of Normandy?


It wound up in a video which has been downloaded 90,000 times.

This November 11th marks 100 years since the end of World War I, also known as the Great War and the War to End All Wars. Only it didn’t. One century later and almost three-quarters of a century after the end of World War II, where are we?

The most powerful nation on earth is led by an ignorant demagogue who has no respect for democracy or freedom, and tens of millions support him through thick and thin, thinking he’s a Messiah who will take them to the Promised Land. Right-wing political parties are gaining ground and it’s okay to be a white supremacist or neo-Nazi as long as you call yourself the Alt Right.

But it’s not okay.

When I was a reporter I once covered a reunion of Belgian citizens who had been liberated by Canadian soldiers in 1944, and they were meeting with some of those soldiers thirty years hence. All these people were much older, but the emotion and camaraderie at that thing was so palpable I can still feel it in my bones.

Those Belgians hadn’t forgotten what it was like to be occupied by Nazi Germany, and to this day Belgium continues to honour the Canadians who liberated the nation.

Years after that reunion I was a guest of the Canadian Armed Forces, doing talks at military bases in the former West Germany. We had a German chauffeur, Herbie, a man in his 50s. We had stopped at a traffic light in this charming little town in the Black Forest when a group of straggly, long-haired youths walked across the road.

“You know,” Herbie said, “Hitler did a lot of bad things but he wouldn’t put up with that.”

I often discuss the issue about our young knowing nothing about history. They know nothing because that is what the schools teach them.

Last week I read an op-ed by an immigrant to the West who doesn’t think we should wear poppies at Remembrance Day because, he said, we shouldn’t recognize militarism. So here’s what I think.

If you’re new to a country that still relishes the principle of liberal democracy and don’t think we should observe such things, kindly pack your bags and return to where you came from.

If you’re a young person, a Millennial or a schoolteacher who doesn’t see the need to know about the last century, tune into the recent Munk Debate in Toronto about the rise of populism between former Trump aide Steve Bannon and journalist David Frum. It’s online.

Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, delivered a passionate and eloquent defense of liberal democracy. But to fully appreciate what he said it would help to know about the past.

Ignorance might get elected, but it is not bliss.


Jerry Amernic is a Canadian writer of fiction and non-fiction books. He is the author of his newest book BABE RUTH - A Superstar's Legacy.

New Website

Alan Gibson celebrates the launch of his new thriller, High Voltage, at a party and book signing on December 8th!

Alan Gibson celebrates the launch of his new thriller, High Voltage, at a party and book signing on December 8th!

Join me Saturday, December 8th at 5 pm at Four Seasons Books to get your signed copy. 

About High Voltage
What seems like one lucky day quickly triggers a series of unimaginable horrors for Strider, an unassuming hiker fresh off the Appalachian Trail. In his panicked search for his missing fiancee, he finds himself trapped at Winter's Farm, a popular hiker destination with a kooky owner and mysterious disappearances. But a foreboding electric fence stymies his desperate escape.  

Hope to see you there,
Alan B. Gibson

Photo: WV Observer

Author Dennis Palumbo & "Head Wounds" on Authors on the Air

Authors on the Air host Pam Stack welcomes author Dennis Palumbo.  

Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT is a writer and licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. His newest crime novel, Head Wounds, is on sale now from Poisoned Pen Press. The book is the fifth in the series featuring psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi.
The first Rinaldi mystery was MIRROR IMAGE, to be followed by FEVER DREAM and NIGHT TERRORS. Palumbo is also the author of WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT (John Wiley), as well as a collection of mystery short stories, FROM CRIME TO CRIME (Tallfellow Press).   He also blogs regularly for the Huffington Post, and writes the popular “Hollywood on the Couch” column for the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website.
Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, Palumbo’s credits include the feature film My Favorite Year, for which he was nominated for a WGA Award for Best Screenplay. He was also a staff writer for the ABC-TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, and has written numerous series episodes and pilots.
This is a copyrighted podcast owned by the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.  http://authorsontheair.com. Host Pam Stack is the executive producer of the network who reads 400 books a year and is an internationally awarded advocate for women and girls. http://facebook.com/authorsontheair.  This broadcast is sponsored by the Authors on the Air Press, presenting BETRAYED: Powerful Stories of Kick-Ass Crime Survivors (benefiting the Naples Shelter for Abused Women and Children). https://amzn.to/2GDY4KQ

R.I.P. William Goldman

“Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one.” 

― William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade

Who are the best literary agents in Manhattan?

Nancy Nigrosh
Nancy Nigrosh, Instructor at UCLA Extension Writers' Program (2013-present)
Natalie, you can answer this question far better than I could because the answer is unique to each person who asks it, based on what you might consider “best” for your particular needs as a writer.
Agents aren’t one size fits all. Pretty much every agent specializes in representation of authors in a particular writing category or genre. Agents also have individualized needs in terms of potential clients – given time and resources already committed to current clients.
You can create a list of authors you admire - whose chosen writing type is similar to yours in some obvious way, find out who represents those authors, and you’d have the kind of list I think you might be looking for, and you may discover that a number of those writers are represented by agents in lots of locations other than Manhattan.

IDEAMENSCH, IN INTERVIEW: Kenneth Atchity Founder of Story Merchant

"Never cease to communicate what you do and how much you love it."

Dr. Ken Atchity (Yale PhD) resigned his tenured position as professor of comparative literature to pursue the least secure profession imaginable: that of a literary manager-producer—a story merchant. Since then he’s founded five companies, develops, sells, and publishes books and produces movies (30+ to date). Meanwhile he’s written over twenty books, fiction and nonfiction, of his own and set up nearly 20 New York Times bestsellers for clients. His most recent released film was The Meg, which has earned over half a billion dollars worldwide. It only took 22 years to get to the screen!

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I named my umbrella company Story Merchant to honor my ancestors, the ancient Phoenicians, traders extraordinaire, who invented the alphabet to facilitate their trade in stories from India to Egypt, from Gibraltar to the Middle East. This is why we find the same scenes in the Odyssey as in the Ramayana—where Odysseus or Rama strings a bow and shoots an arrow through 12 axes! An ambassador from Yemen once called me a story merchant, and explained the history to me. On our logo, the two symbols are the first and last letters of the Phoenician alphabet.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Born on a farm, I love waking up well before the sun. I read for an hour with my coffee, then work on my various writing projects—novels, nonfiction, and scripts—for two hours and then go to tennis or the gym at 8. When I return around 10, I handle the dozens of projects I’m managing or producing using a “rotation” method based on my attention span for each project and their priorities.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It’s a simple formula, really: vision + persistence. Neither without the other.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The proliferation of channels demanding stories for insatiable audiences continues to excite me.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Figuring out my attention span for each activity I engage in, and being careful not to exceed it.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I’d say, “Younger Self, start doing what you love even younger than you did. And I started doing that when I was about 10.”

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

1. Everything is predictable in retrospect.
2. You always find out everything if you wait long enough.
3. I’m such a hard coach that clients sometimes leave me; but they nearly always come back.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Never cease to communicate what you do and how much you love it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Figuring out what writers need, and providing a service to provide it. That’s why there are several “Story Merchant Companies”—The Writers Lifeline, for editing and ghostwriting; Story Merchant, for coaching and representation; Story Merchant Books for publishing; and Atchity Productions, for producing stories we’ve developed through one or another of the companies.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Impatience is a failure in the creative business. You overcome it with patience. I always said, “Patience is my middle name,” but now I say, “it’s also my first name and my last name.””

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Somebody should start a business just recording stories on video–a kind of WIKIPEDIA for stories.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I travel a lot, and the best $100 I’ve spent in a long while was to get a Global Pass to avoid the long reentry custom lines.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I’m in love with my ACT database.
I keep absolutely everything in it; emails, telephone conversations, reminders about things that entry might be interested in.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Read my Quit Your Dayjob and Lead the Life of Your Dreams, to shorten the time between doing what you have to do and doing only what you want to do.

What is your favorite quote?

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.—Muriel Rukmeyer

Key learnings:

  • Vision is insufficient to accomplish dreams; you need vision + persistence.
  • Attention span is a variable, varying from activity to activity. The key to productivity is figuring out your attention span for each activity, and sticking to it.
  • Replace your impatience with patience.
  • Work is the solution for 99% of your problems, financial, emotional, psychological and otherwise. As Ray Bradbury advised, “Start doing more. It’ll get rid of all those moods you’ve been having.”

What Types of $3M – $10M Films Break Out?

An investigative report from Film Industry Analyst Stephen Follows and Founder of The Numbers Bruce Nash

In recent articles, we’ve looked at what it takes for films to break out at different ends of the indie budget spectrum. We’ve looked at low-budget films (with budgets under $3 million), those costing $10 million and $20 million, and also movies made for between $20 million to $50 million. Now we will fill in the gap by looking at films budgeted between $3 million and $10 million.
This budget range makes up an important part of the independent film landscape. The budget is high enough to support hiring well-known actors and actresses, or to spend more on the “polish” of the film through (for example) acquiring rights to well-known music, building more elaborate sets, or filming in remote locations.
However, the budgets are also low enough that every penny has to be spent wisely for the investment to show up on the screen. The group of films that broke out at this budget level include some of the best indie films of the century so far, several of which earned Oscar glory.

Model One: Character Study Dramas

Almost 60% of the most profitable films budgeted between $3 million and $10 million are dramas that give an insight into the minds of interesting characters.
The majority of these films are dark in tone, complex in their plotting and eschew the traditional happy ending. However, this category is not completely devoid of sunshine – some films are uplifting despite their dark settings (such as Billy Elliot) and a handful are genuinely cheerful (such as Bend It Like Beckham). Many of them feature well-established actors or actresses who were drawn to the opportunity to stretch their skills on camera (and maybe snag an Oscar nomination).
All of these films have been well reviewed, with an average Metascore of 77 out of 100, and an average audience rating of 7.7 on IMDb.


Model Two: High-Concept Horror

In a previous study, we found that horror films made up a large percentage of the most profitable films budgeted under $3 million, so it’s no surprise to see them also appearing on today’s list.
All have a very clear, simple premise that promises a dark, scary movie. Well, all except Shaun of the Dead, perhaps.

Model Three: Breakout Documentaries

Only three documentaries make our list, partly because not many documentaries cost over $3 million to make. These three films share two characteristics: they cost quite a lot to make by documentary standards, and they became cultural phenomena.
Excluding some long-running IMAX films, Fahrenheit 9/11 and March of the Penguins are the two highest-grossing documentaries of all time in the US, and the second- and third-highest grossing documentaries worldwide (after Michael Jackson’s This Is It).

Model Four: Crowd Pleasers

The final collection is that of movies which promise to deliver a fun time for a very specific audience.
These movies are likely to be best enjoyed with a group of friends or family who can directly relate to the characters on-screen. Note that the key element with all of these films is that the filmmakers knew exactly who they were making the film for. But also note that there’s virtually no overlap between the audiences for these films—this isn’t a case of finding the right genre, it’s a case of understanding exactly what your audience will like, and making a film to fit. At this budget range, that can be enough to make a very profitable film.


Today’s budget range has the highest percentage of films that stray outside the mainstream. 35% were not produced in the United States, compared to just 5% of the most profitable films made on between $20 million and $50 million. In addtion, these films are also much darker in tone than the most profitable films in other budget ranges. This is best illustrated by the MPAA rating, with 67% receiving an R rating.

We’ve now run analyses of indie films budgeted all the way from $500,000 up to $50 million. In each budget range, we’ve found interesting groups of films that seem to work well at that specific budget range: faith-based films at very low budgets, age-reversal family comedies at the high-budget range, music-based films at the higher mid-budget range, and now niche crowd-pleasers at the lower mid-budget range. There are also a couple of types of movie that can break out at any budget level: very high-quality dramas and (at least up to about a $20 million budget) horror films.
Taken as a whole, we think the analysis reveals two important lessons for the independent film-maker:
First, think about your budget in terms of the audience you’re trying to reach, and make sure that you focus on that audience when making the film. Studios spending $200 million plus to make and market a film need to worry about reaching all four “quadrants.” But the films that we have seen breaking out have almost all worked by their appeal to a specific audience.
Second, with few exceptions, quality counts. As budgets increase, we’ve seen more well-known actors and actresses starring in the films, but, in the main, the talent has been drawn to the quality of the film or the chance to do something new. Getting a great story and a great script is the first important step to creating financial movie magic.


  • In order to conduct this study, we began with a list of over 3,000 films from The Numbers’ financial database, investigating full financial details, including North American (i.e. “domestic”) and international box office, video sales and rentals, TV and ancillary revenue. We narrowed our focus to study feature films released between 2000 and 2016 and budgeted between $3 million and $10 million. Finally, we calculated the likely profit margin for the producers, after all revenue and expenses were taken into account.
  • The financial figures come from a variety of sources, including people directly connected to the films, verified third-party data and computation models based on partial data and industry norms. It is possible that one or two of the individual figures are different to our predictions, though en masse we are confident of the larger picture.
  • Sequels were excluded as their success could be attributed to their existing audience. This affected Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Paranormal Activity 3, Paranormal Activity 4, Insidious Chapter 2, High School Musical 2 and Clerks 2.

About the Authors

Stephen Follows is a writer, producer and film industry analyst. His film research has been featured in the New York Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Evening Standard, Newsweek, The New Statesman, AV Club and Indiewire. He acted as an industry consultant and guest on the BBC Radio 4 series The Business of Film, which topped the iTunes podcast chart, and has consulted for a wide variety of clients, including the Smithsonian in Washington. In addition to film analytics, Stephen is an award-winning writer-producer and runs a production company based in Ealing Studios, London.
Bruce Nash is the founder and President of Nash Information Services, LLC, the premier provider of movie industry data and research services and operator of The Numbers, a website that provides box office and video sales tracking, and daily industry news. Mr. Nash founded the company in 1997 and it now serves approximately 1,000 clients, from the major studios to first-time independent filmmakers. Mr. Nash provides regular commentary and analysis for media outlets, including the L.A. Times, the New York Times, Variety, the Wall Street Journal, 60 Minutes, and CBS News. Mr. Nash is the official adjudicator of movie records for the Guinness Book of Records. To learn more about his company’s services, visit Nash Information Services.
Copyright © 2017 Stephen Follows and Bruce Nash. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

Reel him in! The Meg is Available on Blu-ray™ and Digital 11/13

Clint Hill Concordia alum receives Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award

Former U.S. secret service agent Clint Hill with the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest accolade for its citizens. The award honors present and former North Dakotans who have made great achievements in their fields, and who have well represented the state’s values.

“Clint Hill is an exceptional North Dakotan who has risked his life and health time and time again to protect our nation and its commander in chief,” said the Governor.
Burgum is a former Microsoft executive who received the award himself in 2009 before being elected to office. He released a statement announcing Hill as the recipient of the award, and applauded him for his lengthy service to the nation. Hill served in the Secret Service for seventeen years between the 1960s and 1970s, witnessing the heightened tension of the Cold War. While serving, he was responsible for protecting five consecutive presidencies, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Gerald Ford.
Hill was born in Larimore, N.D., and grew up in Washburn, N.D. He later studied at Concordia College, where he played football, basketball, and baseball, and went on to earn degrees in both history and physical education. Although Hill wanted to work as a teacher after graduation, he was instead drafted by the U.S. army, where he served as a Counterintelligence Special Agent until he was honorably discharged in 1957. He was then employed by the Secret Service between 1958 and 1975, during which he protected the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford presidencies.
“It is an honor to be recognized by your home state, and North Dakota has always been my home,” said Hill. “I am honored and humbled to be placed in the company of the many incredible North Dakotans who have received this award.”
During the Kennedy administration, Hill was primarily responsible for protecting First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. When President Kennedy was shot in 1963, Hill ran and jumped into their car in order to shield the First Lady and President from further harm. Hill is credited with saving Jacqueline Kennedy’s life and was honored at a ceremony days later, which the First Lady attended.
“Mr. Hill has no doubt earned this medal for exceptional bravery. He displayed courage under the most difficult of circumstances” said Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon on Dec. 3, 1963.
Hill continued to serve for the First Lady’s detail for a year after the assassination. During President Johnson’s administration, Hill became the Special Agent in Charge of Presidential Protection. By 1971, he had been promoted to Assistant Director of the Presidential Protective Division. When Hill retired from the Secret Service in 1975, he was Assistant Director responsible for all protective forces.
Despite his success, Hill still felt immense grief over the assassination. This led to a struggle with alcoholism for a brief period following his retirement. Despite the guilt he felt, Hill was later able to find closure after visiting the scene of the incident and realizing that there was nothing he could have done. Writing also helped him express himself. After his career in the Secret Service, Hill became well known as an author. His books “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,” “Five Days in November” and “Five Presidents” became #1 New York Times bestsellers, and National Geographic is currently planning a television series based on “Five Presidents.” Hill would go on to receive Concordia’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2011.
Today, Hill spends his time as a guest speaker and has taught at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He also continues to work with the Secret Service in discussing protective strategies and procedures. The Rough Rider award will be presented to Hill during a public ceremony on Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.

Read more


We often talk about literature as if it were some kind of magic thing—like it could be conjured without effort, if only we could arrange ourselves in a certain fashion, eat the right breakfast, perform our ablutions just so, organize our desks like our favorite writers, copy their daily rituals. Unfortunately, writing is hard, no matter what you do. When you’re working, you have to be a mercenary, taking whatever space you can get, doing whatever works on that day. But when you really love a novel, there’s still something mysteriously satisfying about seeing where it was made—it’s kind of like making a pilgrimage to where your lover was born and raised. It doesn’t mean anything, exactly, because you don’t believe in magic, and yet it does. At the very least, it’s fun. So for our mutual enjoyment, I present the places where some of literature’s most beloved works were written: some beautiful, some dark, all apparently capable of inspiring greatness.
Connie Hum for Connvoyage
Edith Wharton famously did most of her writing in bed (longhand, in the mornings, with her dogs). In her bedroom at The Mount, she wrote the book that would make her famous, The House of Mirth, as well as Ethan Frome, dropping each finished page to the floor for her secretary to pick up, organize, and type.
Jana Crowne for Cuba Holidays
In Finca Vigía, his house in Cuba, built in 1886 by the Catalan architect Miguel Pascual y Baguer, Ernest Hemingway wrote seven books, including For Whom the Bell TollsA Moveable Feast, and The Old Man and the Sea, among others. He wrote in the library, which Roxana Robinson describes as “a long, pleasant, high-ceilinged room, lined with tall bookcases. In front of the windows is The Desk, huge and magisterial, about ten feet long and three feet wide, and curved like a boomerang. It’s made of dark polished wood, with carved supports at each end. Hemingway sat in the center, the ends curving forward.”
Pera Palace

Like Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming, Agatha Christie frequented the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. Her favorite room was 411, and it was here that she reportedly wrote the bestselling Murder on the Orient Express. It’s been refurbished since that time, of course, and updated with Agatha Christie-themed art. On the plus side, while the real Orient Express no longer runs, the hotel still stands, and you can actually stay there, in the very same room as your favorite crime writer.