Category: Writing

A reply to Aquinas wired about writer's block

A reply to Aquinas wired about writer's block
My esteemed colleague, Aquinas wired, posted earlier today on his excellent blog, The Quark In The Road, asking “How Do I Break a Writer’s Block?” Catch up with the post here. In the comments, I reminded him of Beatrix Potter’s experience with Peter Rabbit, which astute readers might remember from an earlier post. Aquinas’s reader... Read more »

You stood on the lectern? Your balance beats mine!

You stood on the lectern? Your balance beats mine!
I was delighted when I checked the Grammar Rules posts at WritersDigest.com today. Robert Lee Brewer’s post featured three of my favorite furies among words worth defending: lectern, podium, and pulpit. While Brewer’s examples are clear and well worth reading, I’d like to expand on them by looking at the roots of the words. Lectern... Read more »

How to Write a Mystery: the Imaginary Writers' Room weighs in

How to Write a Mystery: the Imaginary Writers' Room weighs in
(Editor’s note: What follows is a re-posting of the same thing posted on June 1, in order to repair format glitches which happened then.) “We haven’t heard much from Margaret for a while,” said Agatha Christie. “Have ye investigated, Dame Agatha?” said Robert Burns. “I’ve seen her sitting around with a red book,” said Daphne... Read more »
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A reply to The Amused Curmudgeon about arrant language errors

A reply to The Amused Curmudgeon about arrant language errors
If you heard some unexplained cheering on the evening of May 10, that was my voice. I was reading the post by my fellow ChicagoNow blogger, The Amused Curmudgeon, headlined ‘Airing My Gripes About Arrantly-Erring On-Air Language.” I was delighted to see “overturned meanings,” “the unlikeable like” and other pet peeves among my fellow writer’s... Read more »

How to Write a Mystery: finding your voice

How to Write a Mystery: finding your voice
One of my favorite memories of growing up was finding a manuscript — specifically, seeing the manuscript of “Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter. Now, of course that’s not a detective story, but it did involve finding the voice, the way to tell the story. Beatrix Potter didn’t know what to write to a young friend,... Read more »

How to Write a Mystery (or Anything) with Style

How to Write a Mystery (or Anything) with Style
When you’re new to writing, you may think of “writing style” as something you see on the fashion pages or web sites. But style, when it comes to writing, is a way of using words. As a writer, you develop your own voice — and whether you’re writing about fictional characters or non-fictional ones, you... Read more »
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This post has no time limit

This post has no time limit
I’ve been reading various online publications lately, whether finding them myself or finding posts shared on Facebook or LinkedIn. More and more stories (commentaries, analyses, or just reports) have a note beside the byline: 2 minute read 4 minute read 5 minute read The presumptuousness of that scares me. How do they know how quickly... Read more »

How to Write a Mystery: My ideas on outlining (or not)

I have been enjoying reading, sometimes even studying, the essays in “How to Write a Mystery” which argue in favor and against the practice of outlining a novel before writing it. (Those against outlines are known in the writing community as “pantsers,” as in flying by the seat of your… .) I see advantages in... Read more »

Why go on writing about mystery-writing now?

Why go on writing about mystery-writing now?
The world is very different from the way it was just last week. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is being talked about as the largest military action in Europe since World War II. But my most recent post was part of my series on the book “How to Write a Mystery.” My next one will... Read more »
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How to Write a Mystery: Outline, No Outline, or What?

How to Write a Mystery: Outline, No Outline, or What?
When you’re ready to write something, whether it’s a blog post, a novel, or something in between, do you start with an outline? Or can you make a writing journey without a map, trusting your ability to get and idea and capture it? Or are you somewhere in between? That’s where I am, in between.... Read more »