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If you'd been able to sneak into my home office on a recent Wednesday at 6:15 a.m., you would have found me hunched over my computer, copying text from the book Spunk & Bite by Arthur Plotnik. Why was I doing that? At that time of day?  Continue reading...
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"He's a real nowhere man, living in a nowhere land..."
—Lennon-McCartney

That's a great lyric in a great song, but I don't recommend describing nowhere people and places as a goal for struggling writers.  Continue reading...
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No other novel is more worldly than HonorĂ© de Balzac's Lost Illusions, delighting us with courtesans and countesses, misers and millionaires. Yet no other novel is more word-y, more focused on the art and business of writing.  Continue reading...
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In an essay on writing in last week's The New Yorker, John McPhee describes drawing boxes around "perfectly O.K." words in a search for the "mot juste." Meanwhile, Virginia Woolf tells us words are a messy tangle that will always elude our best efforts to tie them down.  Continue reading...
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"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." This enigmatic sentence has been bouncing around the literate world for thirty-plus years. Many attribute it to the cerebral comedian Martin Mull, but its origins, like those of many such catch phrases, remain misty.  Continue reading...
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The managing editor couldn't have been any nastier. "We've had a bomb threat," he said in an email to the entire newsroom of about a hundred reporters, editors and photographers. "If you feel the need to leave, please inform your supervisor and your pay will be docked accordingly."  Continue reading...
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If writing teachers have any absolutely verboten, don't-go-there, not-on-your-life, no-no rule, it is: "Avoid vague qualifiers!" Yet in recently re-reading The Bulwark, Theodore Dreiser's last and perhaps greatest novel, I began to see a value in vague qualifiers that I'd never seen before.  Continue reading...
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4 5 6 7 8 Displaying 36-42 of 186 Articles