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Writing for the web: guidelines for an introductory writing class

The following are some notes I have made for a discussion I am having with the JEM 200 writing instructors about what we are teaching concerning writing for the web. I invite your comments. As we move from writing in print mode to writing for the web, here are some general principles that we should […]

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25 random things about me

Now that the 25-random-things rage on Facebook is about spent, it’s about time I got in on it. Here’s what I just posted. 1. I keep bees. That usually starts a conversation. 2. The TNJN.com kids make me look like a wizard and a genius every day. I am in awe of them. I wouldn’t […]

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Writing for Twitter – good journalism in 140 characters

When a dam that held millions of cubic yards of toxic coalash near Harriman, Tenn., broke a few days before Christmas 2008, no one paid much attention other than those immediately affected by it and the local media. The disaster was epic — compared to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989. But […]

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Lincoln at 200; Lincoln the writer

Once Americans get through Christmas, they will be faced with two important dates that inter-weave themselves politically and historically: the inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States on Jan. 20 and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12. For the moment, the Writing Wright will set Barack […]

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Re-thinking the old media forms

Yes, you can do the old forms on the web. But should you? This “old media” type says we should re-think the forms of our content. This New York Times article by Virginia Heffernan is bit depressing but very perceptive. She writes: . . .they should think about what content suits these new modes of […]

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William Tecumseh Sherman: Marching through the American mind

The Union Army, under the command of William Tecumseh Sherman, decamped from a devastated and burning Atlanta on November 16, 1864 and marched across the expanse of Georgia until it reached Savannah. The purpose, according to its commander, was to bring the horrors of war into the farms, fields, parlors and living rooms of the […]

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Aristotle figured out the storytelling 2,300 years ago

An article in the March issue of The Writer magazine lays out what Aristotle thought about storytelling about 2,300 years ago. The article, written by William Kowalski, points out that the Greeks didn’t have the novel, but they did have the theater. From that, Aristotle decided to outline what he thought made a compelling story: […]

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Writing Wright reviewed by ‘Small Church Pastor’

My old friend Chuck Warnock has written a very nice review of The Writing Wright for his popular blog Confessions of a Small Church Pastor. Here’s part of what Chuck says about the book: The Writing Wright brims with quotes, anecdotes, excerpts, and illustrations about writers and writing. From Samuel Johnson to Ernest Hemingway to […]

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Headlines and titles: the ‘invention’ conceit

In our modern Scots-invented world of bloviation, headlines and titles can’t stand the heat of a literalist’s kitchen. Note: This is a post that appeared on a previous blog in May, 2008. Being a literalist when it comes to words and their usage (though not without a sense of humor, I hope), I tend to […]

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Memo to self: Writing projects and beyond

SELF-INDULGENCE ALERT: Warning the following is about what I have been up to lately. Not for the faint of heart. Now that I’ve ushered one big writing project out the door, it’s time to assess and indulge. A couple of things are done, but a couple of others need attention, and some things loom on […]

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Cyn Mobley to host Internet radio call-in show on publishing

Best-selling thriller novelist Cyn Mobley will host her first Internet radio call-in show on what it takes to get published on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008 at 7 p.m. EST at Talkshoe.com. The link to the show is here: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/32978 The show is set up so you can just listen in or you can call via […]

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Non-profit news: the new journalism

The New York Times has an article this morning on non-profit journalism — an idea that has been around for a while. In fact, the Christian Science Monitor had a similar article, spotlighting the VoiceofSanDiego as the Times article did, back in February. There are also articles in the Columbia Journalism Review, American Journalism Review, […]

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Elmore Leonard: Rules for writing

Lots of people seem to want rules for writing — as if that makes the process easier. (It doesn’t.) Still, these rules make for interesting reading and are sometimes good reminders. They are the habits that writers should develop. Elmore Leonard works in the genre of fiction, but his rules are worth noting for any […]

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The Writing Wright: now available on Amazon

Tom Clancy, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain and Satchel Paige — they were all writers (of sorts). And they have all made it into this first volume of The Writing Wright. The Writing Wright is now available on Amazon. If you are fascinated by writers and writing, The Writing Wright offers a box of chocolates you […]

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A literary flame who died too soon

Those who die too young provoke particular sadness. Earlier this summer, we noted the 100th anniversary of the day American letters lost one of its brightest and briefest flames — Stephen Crane. Crane’s one novel was the Red Badge of Courage, which contained descriptions of the confusion and terror of a Civil War battle so […]

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The anniversary of the death of a literary light

Like that of Robert Kennedy, the anniversary of the death of an American who died too young occurred this past week. Part of our collective conversation this past week has been remembering the death of Robert Kennedy, which happened 40 years ago. Kennedy, shot by an assassin in Los Angeles on the night he won […]

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Writers writing: Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope wrote for money. He made out a schedule and stuck to it. The way writers write – their habits, productivity, quirks, methods of procrastination, etc. – fascinate a lot of people, including me. One of my favorite stories in this vein is that of Anthony Trollope, the mid-19th century British novelist and author […]

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The audacity and hope of Barak Obama, the writer

Barak Obama wrote his own book — no ghostwriters or co-authors. He did the literary heavy-lifting himself. It was with plenty of audacity and no small amount of hope that Barak Obama sat down in the early 1990s to write his life story. He had just turned 30 in 1991 and could reasonably assume that […]

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A seventh edition

A textbook that goes into multiple editions can be like a child who grows up but doesn’t leave home. Textbooks can be funny things. If you write a textbook, you want it to be widely adopted so that about four years later the publisher will ask for a second edition (because, while your royalties don’t […]

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The fiction writer’s bookshelf

If you are interested in writing fiction, here are two of the best books you can have: Christopher VoglerThe Writer’s Journey Renni Brown and David KingSelf-Editing for Fiction Writers (These are the Amazon links.) No one explains “story” better than Vogler. I’m going to post these to a couple of lists to which I subscribe […]

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