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Don’t Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen: Writing as Entertainment
The Writing Process

Don’t Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen: Writing as Entertainment

William Zinsser, author of perennial classic “On Writing Well,” once argued the “mere serviceable is a drag.”  Despite what stuffy academics and the literati might say, I completely agree: the primary goal of writing is entertainment. “What?” you might scoff in disbelief, “what about the nobler goals of information and persuasion, guidance and enlightenment?” Yes, as … Continue reading

A Trail in an Enchanted Forest: Leaving Gold Coins for Your Reader
The Writing Process

A Trail in an Enchanted Forest: Leaving Gold Coins for Your Reader

Re-reading Roy Peter Clark’s brilliantly practical Writing Tools and stumbled upon a writing strategy I adore: Writing Tool #23: “Place gold coins along the path: Reward the reader with high points, especially in the middle.” The question that torments every writer: how do we compel our readers to keep reading?  Famed editor of the Wall Street … Continue reading

Writing as Seduction
Artist's Inspiration

Writing as Seduction

French-Russian novelist Francine Du Plessix Gray always begins her writing classes by asking students to compare the following sentences, the first from Nabokov’s memoir of his youth in pre-Revolutionary Russia, Speak Memory, the second from Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. “She turned on the steps to look back at me before descending into a jasmine-scented, … Continue reading