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References made by authors sometimes don't age very well. If these references are lost to history, or fall on deaf ears, it can be very frustrating for the reader. This can be especially true when the reference is part of the title. Many schoolchildren know that the Emma Lazarus poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty is called "The New Colossus," but the reference to the statue of Helios at Rhodes is probably obscure, and the relationship between the two statues themselves is not entirely clear.  Continue reading...
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All readers have favorite writers, writers whom we know and love, writers whose company we enjoy though we may never meet, writers who, we feel sure, know and love us back, who understand what we think and feel.  Continue reading...
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Is your writing as productive as it needs to be? Here's a checklist that will help you do better... from "Do the most important job first" to "When overwhelmed, just write a little."  Continue reading...
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Lately, I've been talking about Stephen King while teaching Edgar Allan Poe. When King was in middle school, he wrote a "novel version" of Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum," based on the horror-movie adaptation. When his teacher, Miss Hisler, caught him selling mimeographed copies, she asked him why he was writing such "junk."  Continue reading...
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Revising what one has written is a key part to the writing process. But what about revising the title, the way a work will be known for all time? Literary history is filled with titles that "almost were," and they are difficult to embrace, perhaps because the titles we know are so comfortably familiar.  Continue reading...
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People often have the totally wrong idea that they need to have been born creative in order to write. While being born certain ways can help your writing a lot — being born wealthy means you may not have to worry about money; being born a good proofreader means you'll catch most of your own typos — creativity doesn't even count on the list of concerns you should fret about.  Continue reading...
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The dog ate the food. That's writing at its plainest. Each word has a definite, well-known meaning, the signifiers point to their signifieds just like they're supposed to. If we know how to read, we have no trouble seeing Fido happily munching his kibble.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 356 Articles