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“We off That.” Don’ts for Writers in 2017

Jay-Z’s “Off That” is a concise guide to what was no longer cool as of 2009: everything from baggy clothes and Timbs (Timberland boots,) to fighting in the club and telling your girl you love her. We writers could use a similar style audit. With all the wackness being perpetrated in the writing game today,… Read more »

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50 Things to Collect when you Read

This post has since been reposted by Thought Catalog.  Favorite quotes Gorgeous prose Bad prose Lines that make you laugh and cry Lines you wish you had written Scenes that make you wonder how the hell this book got so popular Place names Character names Obscure words (the word for a collector of words is… Read more »

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Friday Roundup

“He traveled in order to come home.”  –William Trevor    Goodbye William Trevor.   F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘that sad young man’ profiled in the New Yorker April, 1926   The Defunct Language of Nautical Flags.   Leonard Cohen at BrainPickings.   A visit to Nouvella’s studio.  

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Showing Up, By the Numbers

If you do three morning pages  every day, you’ll write 273,750 words every year (assuming 250 words/ page.) That’s Crime and Punishment plus Lord of the Flies, all before breakfast.   Writing three hours a day gets you to 10,000 hours of practice in ten years. A decade will go by fast if you’re living the kind of life worth writing… Read more »

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5 NaNoWriMo Tips from a Guy who Hasn’t Done it

Since 1999, Halloween has marked the eve of National Novel Writing Month,or NaNoWriMo, a web-based write-a-thon in which participants try to write a novel (of at least 50,000 words) in the month of November. 50,000 words in a month comes out to a daily word count of 1,667, or roughly seven pages. That’s challenging but… Read more »

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Friday Roundup — I Think You’re Fat

“If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.” –Leonard Cohen    Leonard Cohen talks about the writing process.   The climate event that created Frankenstein and the bicycle.   Piles of Beanie Babies at the Paris Review.   Trump’s Ghostwriter talks to The New Yorker .   I think you’re fat, how… Read more »

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Elmore Leonard’s Most Important Rule for Writing

Elmore Leonard had one rule that summed up his famous 10 rules of writing: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”     You can find the other 10 in Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing which includes illustrations and examples of writers who break his rules brilliantly.

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One Problem with Adjectives– Stating the Obvious

There are a lot of ways adjectives can mess you up, one of the worst is the tautology–that’s when the adjective has the same meaning as the word in modifies and therefore isn’t needed. Here are a few examples: Dry desert Closed fist Overused cliché Revolutionary new Freezing cold First priority Evening sunset Over exaggerate… Read more »

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Friday Roundup

“Graham Greene wrote from 9:00 to 12:00 and then drank.” –Zadie Smith    Zadie Smith on  the three hour writing day.   Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan has yet to acknowledge his prize.   Bloomberg gives the Boston Museum of Science $50 million to say thank you for his childhood visits to the museum.   Outside Magazine ranks… Read more »

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Hemingway, Refugees, and Writing with Emotion

In 1922, Hemingway was in Greece reporting for the Toronto Star on the evacuation of Thrace and the refugee crisis that followed. He used some of his memories and notes from the trip as material for In Our Time, his first collection of short stories.   Hemingway’s war reporting appears in italics between his stories…. Read more »