Monday, September 15, 2014

The Top Five: Best Writing-Related Articles from September 8-12

5. "The 12 Most Go-To Grammar Tips" on Ragan's PR Daily (Becky Gaylord)

Link: http://bit.ly/1m2LZA3

This quick-and-easy article is perfect for those days when you can't remember the difference between "affect" and "effect," or whether to use "between" or "among" as you're writing along. And that whole "lay-versus-lie" question ... Gaylord tackles that with aplomb.

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4. "25 Ways to Tighten Your Writing" on Ragan's PR Daily (Betsy Mikel)

Link: http://bit.ly/ZeNDEm

You know it's been a good week in the writing world when one site has two great articles on the topic. If you're like me and you tend to be verbose in your writing ... okay, okay, maybe everything you write rivals War and Peace ... look up this list of twenty-five specific things you can do differently to pare down an article, essay, or story to reach word count, or just to make sure that everything you wrote is absolutely necessary.

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3. "27 Writers on Whether or Not to Get Your MFA" on Flavorwire (Elisabeth Donnelly

Link: http://bit.ly/1p88jTA

A fascinating and controversial compilation of snapshot interviews with twenty-seven well-known writers, some of whom graduated with MFA degrees and some of whom did not; some of whom teach in MFA programs and some of whom do not; and some of whom believe in MFA programs and some of whom do not. Wherever you fall on the continuum, you'll find someone here with whom to agree, and everyone else's opinions are just as provocative.

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2. "How Stephen King Teaches Writing" on The Atlantic (Jessica Lahey)

Link: http://theatln.tc/1qDczzo

Whether you've got a degree in writing or have taken classes or attended workshops or conferences or read books about it, or you just dove into the process on your own, Stephen King's wisdom to writers in this interview is timeless. My favorite comment has to do with why he bothers to teach students the different names of the parts of speech: "When we name the parts [of speech], we take away the mystery and turn writing into a problem that can be solved." And a problem that can be solved is perfectly achievable where it didn't used to be.

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1. "10 Books That Have Never Left You -- What Are Your 10?" on Writer's Digest (Brian A. Klems)

Link: http://bit.ly/YeWqFX

This contribution to the list this week is less an article and more something to really think about, especially as writers. Find some uninterrupted time to sit and think about the top ten books that have shown "staying power" (Klems's phrase) in your life. What lingers for you? What do you remember most vividly, most poignantly? What touched you most deeply? Give it some thought, and feel free to post in the comments here or at Klems's original post.

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Your thoughts on the articles this week? Find anything interesting that I didn't see? (It's always possible.)

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