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We all know what a varmint is, thanks to Yosemite Sam (and others). It's an annoying animal (or person), the fauna equivalent of a weed. It's something (or someone) who takes your nice, tidy set-up, your lovely garden or lawn or your livestock, and makes a mess of it. Before you had a good environment; now you have a nasty varmint.  Continue reading...

Decimate. Literally. Hopefully. These words, and others like them, provoke so much ire in some readers that they become troublesome to use. Critics feel that the writer is using the word in an unauthorized way, that it's being using to mean what it does not mean.  Continue reading...

This is a list of ideas you should give up if you want to become a writer. It's short, but don't assume I produced it quickly. It took me 30 years to learn some of these lessons.  Continue reading...

In 1911 Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was a thirty-year-old British writer living both in England and America. His upper-crust background and boarding school education had given him a knack for turning out satires of high society. Yet Wodehouse hadn't found his voice as a writer: what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it.  Continue reading...

Sometimes, a photo "ekes out of the printer." Other times, electronics help "to eke out extra mileage" in cars. And in a more familiar usage, a movie "shows how a once-budding folk singer tries to eke out a living." It's no wonder, then, that most people think "eke out" means to achieve something through effort, to barely get by.  Continue reading...

My training as a writer came from newspapers. I started at a community weekly and then advanced to a metropolitan daily. I was really young when I learned how to handle quotes; not all corporate writers are so lucky. If you ever struggle with quotes, here's a list of rules that will make the process easier for you.  Continue reading...

"Try reading books by your favorite writers in the order they were written, and you'll find the effects of time on each writer's spirit," says Michael Lydon, who considers how time shaped Leo Tolstoy into a mature prose stylist.  Continue reading...

1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 445 Articles