Category Archives: Writing

Zombie Nouns—Undead Words Begging For A Head Shot?

As an editing professional I spend a lot of time making writing better, and that usually includes “tightening it up”—a polite way of saying that you cut things. You go after unneeded words and phrases, sentences that are misplaced or … Continue reading

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Critical of the Critics: Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

When a book is touted as extraordinary, but it’s merely “pretty good,” are readers and reviewers (and other writers) justified in pointing this out? Is a difference of opinion still tolerated? If we strongly disagree on the criteria used to … Continue reading

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Utopia vs Dystopia? Surprise! They mean the same thing.

I’ve noted in the past on this blog how every once in a while a word rises to sudden prominence in popular usage, but is nonetheless used incorrectly by almost everyone. I blame this largely on media pundits, who hear … Continue reading

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Anthropomorphism: Always a Bad Idea Outside of Fiction?

Assigning human characteristics to non-human things is a time-honored writing technique. Most writers are not only aware of and familiar with the idea of personification—describing something as a person when it definitely is not—but at some point in their educations … Continue reading

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Fiction Master Class: The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

Every writer, every teacher of writing, and every person who studies writing (which of course includes editors) keeps lists: lists of the best, the worst, the most moving, the most descriptive, and so on. Many of them won’t admit this, … Continue reading

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