Wit and wisdom for wordsmiths

Category Archives: Secrets of good writing

Tom Hanks the WRITER likes to TYPE!

Everybody knows Jay Leno collects antique cars. But other celebs have passions that are a little more, shall we say, eccentric. Johnny Depp collects dolls — including one of Lindsay Lohan wearing an electronic ankle bracelet.  As if that weren’t weird enough, he also collects pigeon skeletons. Nicholas Cage collects human shrunken heads, dinosaur skulls,Continue Reading

How to bring raw ideas to life

  Image by Ron Miller Day 29 of Blogathon 2013   Whoa. Did that image up there get your attention? It’s from The Atlantic Monthly online, and it’s the way astronomical artist Ron Miller, a former NASA art director, illustrated how the planet Jupiter would look to us if it were as close as theContinue Reading

9 things you didn’t know about YouTube

  Day 28 of Blogathon 2013 Let’s call today Fun Friday and not talk about writing at all. Instead, let’s talk about that time waster called YouTube . YouTube has been around since 2005, though it seems longer. The original idea was for it to be an online dating service modeled after something called HotContinue Reading

Quick: Hand me the Zinsser!

 Day 27 of Blogathon 2013   Everybody who’s ever worked in a newsroom or a publishing house has heard somebody yell, “Hand me the Zinsser!” “The Zinsser” is a small book called “On Writing Well,” and it beats Strunk and White by a mile. Mine is about 3 feet from my computer and the pagesContinue Reading

What’s on your summer reading list?

Day 26 of Blogathon 2013   In another 4 days, Blogathon 2013 will be over and everyone who stuck it out can start reading Beach Books – otherwise known as Trash. Potato chips for the mind. Beach books used to be what we read while getting a tan. But now that we know better thanContinue Reading

How to channel your reluctant muse

Day 25 of Blogathon 2013   Do writers need muses? How about composers? Artists? People have been arguing about the need for inspiration for millennia. For all we know, cave men waited for inspiration before they drew those horses and bison on the cave walls at Lescaux . The Latin root of inspiration is “breathingContinue Reading

10 writing exercises to start your week

Day 24 of Blogathon 2013 This is the last week of June and the last week of Blogathon 2013: After today, there are seven posts to go. So here, to get those creative juices flowing, are 10 writing exercises that may help, whether you write fiction, non-fiction, or blog posts. Do as many of theseContinue Reading

What I learned about writing at Grub Street

  Day 23 of Blogathon 2013 What do you think matters most in a novel? Is it characters? Plot? Writing style? For a seat-of-the-pants writer like me (ask my friend Peter how much I hate outlining), it was disconcerting to learn that the answer is “none of the above.”  What matters most is structure. YesterdayContinue Reading

Bucket List #1: A Grub Street book-writing workshop

Day 22 of Blogathon 2013 Short post today. Do you have a Bucket List? I figure it’s time I got started on mine. First up is an all-day workshop called “How to plan, write and develop a book” at Grub Street  in Boston. In case you’re curious, here’s a link to the instructor’s blog describingContinue Reading

What’s the secret of writing funny? See Borowitz

Day 21 of Blogathon 2013 Before we begun, read this post from comedian Andy Borowitz . Go ahead, I’ll wait. For my money, not even Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart are as consistently on the mark and as consistently funny as Andy Borowitz. Apparently a lot of other people agree. His Twitter feed, @BorowitzReport, hasContinue Reading