One of the things everyone remembers about Shakespeare, whether they spent a few weeks on one play in high school or an entire semester on several plays in college, is that he wrote in iambic pentameter. Some may also have vague recollections about their teacher explaining that iambic pentameter isn't difficult to understand, because English "naturally" falls into its rhythms.  Continue reading...
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I was born a night owl. I used to think 2 am was the perfect bedtime and I resented having to get up before 8:30. Paradoxically (or perhaps I mean, annoyingly), I had to be at work by 6 am in the years I worked as a senior newspaper editor. I loved my job but I was miserable, sleepwise.  Continue reading...
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If, as a writer, you write long enough, well enough, and popularly enough, your manuscripts, drafts, notes, and letters may someday be gathered, sorted, catalogued, boxed, and stored deep in the bowels of a library archive, ready to be pored over, decades or centuries later, by scholars and biographers eager to learn how and why you wrote as you did.  Continue reading...
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March is National Reading Month, and to commemorate the occasion, Time's Katy Steinmetz points to some great writing in small packages. She also checks in with our sister site, Vocabulary.com, for insights into vocabulary items in the texts she has chosen.  Continue reading...
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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...
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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...
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As Black History Month comes to a close, we are proud to feature a fantastic new reference book: Bartlett's Familiar Black Quotations. As Henry Louis Gates, Jr. states in the foreword, it is an "impressively researched and documented collection of the finest thought produced by writers throughout the African diaspora." Here we present an excerpt from the preface by the book's editor, Retha Powers.  Continue reading...
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