9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 336 Articles

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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Jan Schreiber, a noted poet, critic, and translator, writes: "It's an old phenomenon — reaching for the fancy word instead of the plain one, and coming up with a word whose meaning is not quite what the speaker intended. We often smile at those who, as H. W. Fowler memorably put it, 'go wordfowling with a blunderbuss.'"  Continue reading...
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I desperately wanted piano lessons as a child. Too bad for me my parents couldn't afford them. Instead, I watched enviously as my classmates carried their music books under their arms and marched off to meet their piano teachers. Why couldn't I do that?  Continue reading...
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Yes, it's been said before, but let's say it again: writing lives on the life writers pack into their writing. Get only a little life into your poetry or prose, and your writing will soon starve, dwindle, and die. Get a lot of life into your poetry or prose, and your writing may live forever.  Continue reading...
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Some writers go to great lengths to find synonyms for things or acts that they have to refer to repeatedly in a story. They seem to have the idea that this adds flavor and depth and style to their writing. Actually, it can add a thick layer of B.S. and to demonstrate quite clearly why supposed synonyms are not necessarily fungible.  Continue reading...
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We all like good writing and dislike bad writing; we all want to write well, not badly. Yet the words "good" and "bad," when applied to any work of art are so much matters of taste that they often seem empty as definitions and arbitrary as categories.  Continue reading...
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I sometimes find myself getting bored when I write... This is not the end of the world, but it's not very pleasant, either. And if we're bored as writers, think about how our poor readers are going to feel!  Continue reading...
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9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 336 Articles