Category Archives: How To Use Language Beautifully

Secrets of Goblins and Good Writing

I’ve in the middle of reading, with considerable delight, William Alexander’s debut fantasy novel Goblin Secrets. It just won a National Book Award for Young People’s literature, and it’s a wonderful piece of literary storytelling. I wanted to share one of his chapter starts, as it continues the “trick of particularity” point I made in […]

Cliches, Irritating Phrases, and Inflated Claims

At the end of the day, I personally, at this moment in time and with all due respect, want to say something fairly unique. Although it’s absolutely a nightmare to even try, but certainly not rocket science . . . let’s face it, I shouldn’t of started this literary blog for good writing advice, available […]

Read Your Work Out Loud

In a 2004 interview with Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate (2004-06), on the PBS News Hour, Kooser talked about writing with clarity – so that a piece or passage (in his case, a poem) could be understood by the average person. He recalled how early in his career, when he worked in the insurance business, […]

Show Me (Don’t Tell Me!)

“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” – E.L. Doctorow (American author of the novel Ragtime, and other works) “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov (Russian […]

Oh, Lovely Rotten Apple!

Without leaving the house I know the whole universe. – Lao Tzu I discovered the secret of the sea in meditation upon the dew drop. – Kahlil Gibran I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars, And the pismire [the ant] is equally perfect, and a grain […]