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I have a close friend, whose work I have helped edit for more than 20 years. He likes to say that my job is to review his writing, find the very best parts and then remove them. He is half joking. But only half.

In my defense, I will say that I am simply following the advice of British journalist, critic, and novelist Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who said: "Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — wholeheartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings."  Continue reading...
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Stuck with your writing? Hitting a roadblock? Feeling you just can't go any further? Here is a game to help. It will sound a little crazy but, trust me, it works.  Continue reading...
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When my son was 18 months, he suddenly started walking with a pronounced limp and he became wild whenever we tried to look at his foot. Concerned, and because it was a weekend, we took him to the emergency room at our local children's hospital. The emergency doc took one look at my son's foot and said, "Ah, he has a bad case of sleeper toe!"

This strange malady occurs when a piece of long hair or thread in the foot of a child's sleeper slowly works its way around the child's toe, essentially garroting it. Fortunately for us, the treatment was simple. It involved a team of big strong guys holding down my son and removing the hair. Not pleasant, but very effective.

I was recalling this incident the other day when it struck me that editing is essentially like being an ER doctor. Let me explain...  Continue reading...
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Like music, writing has rhythm. Think of Shakespeare. He wrote his plays in iambic pentameter: Da dum, da dum, da dum, da dum, da dum. Okay, I know you're not Shakespeare but you and yours sales letter or your school essay or your e-zine article have rhythm too -- whether you know it or not. The beat that exists behind your writing is a key part of what we call your writing voice. It makes your work unique and recognizable. It expresses your personality. It's part of what makes you, you.  Continue reading...
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Although, as noted by the Book of Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun, there is something newish in the world of mindmapping. And I'm thrilled to be able to share it with you.  Continue reading...
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What if I told you there was a simple, sitting-under-your-nose technique that would increase your writing speed, improve your coherence and dramatically enhance your audience's ease of reading. Would you use it? Yes, you'd say. Tell me more! But listen, my friends, you already know about it. I'm talking about bullets, the unsung heroes of the print world. Why are bullets so effective? Glad you asked!  Continue reading...
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When my 13-year-old son recently used the word schadenfreude in casual conversation, I snapped to attention. "Where on earth did he learn that?" I wondered. This marvelous but obscure German word, which means "to feel joy at another's misfortune," is hardly everyday fodder for teenagers.  Continue reading...
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9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 91 Articles