Last Christmas, I gave you my 12 Gifts for Writers, first as serialized blog posts and then as a PDF ebook (it’s also available as an audiobook if you sponsor me on Patreon). This year, I’ve made a print version of it for all of you who like to hold real paper things in your own hands. And I’ve made a few tiny revisions in it (nothing big, but still…).
It’s 44 glorious pages in trade paperback, and all for the low price of 50¢ per gift – in other words, $6 per book (plus shipping and handling). (You want free gifts? Get the ebook.) Buy it now for the writer in your life. In fact, since everyone’s a writer, buy lots of copies so you can give one to everyone you know who wants to write things that people will buy.
Order it from Lulu.com.
This article was first published on The Editors’ Weekly, the blog of Editors Canada.
There are times when you want to make your prose more lively – if not flagrantly flippant then at least glancingly gleeful. Your words could land with a thump or splash or flit by with a twirl, but they must be sprightly. You want to write like a child. Well, no, not like a child – children aren’t very good writers; their sense of sentence structure is a bit squishy and scrawny – but like a child would write if a child had the skill of an adult. You want to be extra expressive. Continue reading
To go with my presentation “Translating medicalese into everyday English,” here’s the article that I wrote for The Editors’ Weekly, the blog of Editors Canada.
People with serious health problems are often subject to novel treatments. But that shouldn’t mean being treated like they’re in a novel. Continue reading
Posted in editing, writing
Tagged brave, communication, editing, Editors Canada, fighting, health, healthcare, hero, inspiring, lucky, medicine, miracle, morality, struggling with, The Editors' Weekly, writing
As promised, I have made an ebook (in PDF) of 12 Gifts for Writers. You can download it for free, pass it around to your friends, and – I hope – gain something from it. Just click on the link:
12 Gifts for Writers (PDF, 4.2 MB)
Here, read this:
…Parking the car (smooth sleek shiny grey) in the heated, lit underground lot, though at least a good five-ten blocks away from my destination (I’d have to be lacking in intelligence to be parking it any closer: there are certain rules must abide by in these things), and out once again – though unprotected this time – into the night air (cold & misty) for a little bit of a walk: certainly conspicuous in this, as yer not likes to be finding much of too many anybody out on the streets this time of night (especially in this part of town) without a damn good reason: and if the Men in Pink happen to glance you, you will most certainly be inquired as to why wherefore where when what who you are doing out this time of night, which being the accurate nature of your business, and so on and so forth ad infinitum nauseum et cetera. Goes without saying this being my aim to avoid (perhaps one reason for choosing the darker shades in a suit for wear this eve?).
That bale of braided turds, my friends, is the start of a short story by a writer who’s trying to find his voice. I wrote it when I was 18. Continue reading
Everybody writes. Did you just tweet something? Post on Facebook? Send a quick email? That’s all writing. It’s all using words. It’s all flexing your lexical muscle. Does it seem too small to count? It still builds up habits and uses your skills. It still displays them, too. Continue reading
Writing involves facts and creation. You are expected to acquire the former and perform the latter; both are part of the job. The act of creation in writing is largely an act of selection, rearrangement, and re-presentation: showing a new way of seeing with not-new things. And don’t forget that it’s all a conversation – you’re making references to other people’s work as well as to well-known cultural elements (such as the twelve days of Christmas). Continue reading
Sit down. I’m going to tell you something I probably wouldn’t tell you directly in person.
You’re wrong about how good your writing is.
OK, you’re probably wrong. A few of you are right, but damn few. I’ve been working with writers for a long time now, and I have observed two general truisms: Continue reading
I’m sure you’ve heard that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert at it. That’s oversimplified, of course; some things take more time to master than others, and some people take more time to master things than others do. Some people practice a thing relentlessly for years and still suck at it. But as a general truism, the more you do something, the better you get at it.
There are several reasons for this. Here are three: Continue reading
Of course, as a writer, you need to read a lot. But while you obviously should read a lot of exemplary writing, you should also read a lot of bad writing.
Now, in matters of taste, there is no such thing as good or bad. So what in hell do I mean? Three things: Continue reading