Author Archive

Monday, April 14, 2014

Skip day

by Neil Fein

There won’t be an update today; Magnificent Nose returns on Wednesday 16 April with a guest post from former regular columnist Sara Goas.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sandman: Overture 2

by Neil Fein

Anything written by Neil Gaiman is always worth waiting for. It’s been almost four months since the first issue of Sandman: Overture came out, and I have the second issue next to me on the couch as I type this; I bought it late last week, and have since read it twice. Overture will clearly read better in the collected “graphic novel” edition than it does when reading it one issue at a time, but I’m still enjoying it immensely.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Questions about Tech Writing

by Neil Fein

Question Everything / Nullius in verba / Take nobody's word for it

Over at the Writers Q&A site, the moderators have been trying to encourage questions about tech writing. Here are some recent questions I quite liked. (Questions lightly edited and condensed.)
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Life Happens

by Neil Fein

You’ll be seeing fewer posts here at the nose for a little while. The editorial staff apologizes for this, and we hope we’ll be back very soon with great articles four days a week. But until further notice, expect that postings will be less frequent.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dear Readers

by Neil Fein

From: The writers and editors of Magnificent Nose
To: Our dear readers

We love you all dearly. You’ve read what we wrote, been kind to us, and encouraged us. Of course, we’d like it very much of there were more of you–it sometimes feels like we’re writing to a room of crickets–but we know that you’re out there, reading what we write and sweat over. We do this for the love of writing. Thank you for that.

It’s been an exciting year for many of us, but blogging (how we hate that word!) takes time and energy. So we’re taking a couple of weeks away from all things Nosey. From December 23rd through January 3rd, we’ll be recharging, spending time with family and friends, and also getting some well-deserved alone time.

We have some great ideas for 2014. We hope you’ve had a wonderful 2013, and that your 2014 will be even better.

See you next year!


Neil Fein is a freelance editor who specializes in novels. If you’ve written a manuscript or are getting close to finishing, you can get in touch with him here. He rides his bicycle as much as he can, and he paints when he damn well feels like it. He’s also a musician who plays in a Celtic fusion band.

The illustration for this article uses a photo by bradleypjohnson as an element, as per its creative commons license.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

As Numerous as the Stars in the Heavens

by Neil Fein
When young Jewish people come of age, we’re traditionally called to the torah for the first time. And so, at his bar-mitzvah, my nephew would be reading the portion known as Lehk Lekha.

I made my niece sister a painting for her bat-mitzvah. So of course I would be doing the same for my nephew. I don’t paint much these days, but making a gift of a painting for a major life event has become a bit of a tradition for me. It’s not the cheapest present–oil paints are expensive–but it gives me a project. I always feel good when I’m working on a canvas.

A few years ago, figuring out what, exactly to paint for my niece wasn’t easy; her torah portion was all about laws and rituals, without much of a plot or anything visual. But this time I was luckier. My nephew would be reading a bit of the Hebrew bible with a good story, from near the beginning of Genesis. (Most of the good stories are in Genesis.) This portion’s name is sometimes translated as “go forth” or “leave”. “And YHWH said to Abram, ‘go from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house to the land that I’ll show you.’” This is the bit where Amrab/Abraham is told his descendants will be many, that they will be a “great nation”. God speaks to our hero thus:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Jewish Christmas

by Neil Fein

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“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month when you gather the land’s produce, you shall celebrate YHWH’s holiday seven days. [...] And on the first day you shall take fruit of appealing trees, branches of palms, boughs of thick trees, and willows of a wadi, and you shall be happy in front of YHWH, your God, seven days. [...] Every citizen in Israel shall live in booths, so your generations will know that I had the children of Israel live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am YHWH, your God.”

–Leviticus 23:39–43, Translated by Richard Elliot Friedman

Those of you who celebrate Christmas may not give a lot of thought to those who don’t. Sure, you may say “happy holidays” and support having a menorah next to the Christmas tree downtown. But the mere existence of Christmas affects people who don’t celebrate it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Two Weeks

by Neil Fein

Calendar Card

This Monday will kick off Holiday Film Week here at the Nose. We have several fun posts planned, the first of which will be an article on the classic Miracle on 34th Street, written by our Assistant Editor, Kathleen.
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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Paper Mirror

by Neil Fein

Mars Landers on Map

The reader with a favorite book, read until the pages are falling apart, is a cliche of used bookstores and coffeeshops everywhere. Despite Kindles and free wifi at Starbucks, this archetype still exists in those of us who love even one book.

Why do people re-read books? In particular, why do any of us re-read fiction, ever? We’ve already read the damn thing, and we know the ending. But the question itself presupposes that a novel is just a story. That events mean only what they mean.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Two weeks of holiday posts

by Neil Fein
Before we get into the next theme week, the Nose has some exciting news. You may have seen the film reviews penned by Christopher Exantus here on the site over the last few weeks. We’re happy to report that Chris will be writing these regularly, and his reviews will appear on Thursdays.
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