November 14 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Frederick Jackson Turner (1861), Astrid Lindgren (1907), William Steig (1907), Eric Malpass (1910), George Bizos (1928), Karen Armstrong (1944), Gary Provost (1955), Nancy Tafuri (1946), P.J. O’Rourke (1947), Cara Black (1951),

Frederick Turner won the 1933 Pulitzer Prize for History for “The Frontier in American History”

Astrid Lindgren is best known for her “Pippi Longstocking” books.

William Steig is best known as the creator of “Shrek”

Quote: “A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy. I want to write for a readership that can create miracles. Children create miracles when they read. That’s why children need books.” – Astrid Lindgren

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with the energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals – sounds that say listen to this, it is important.” – Gary Provost

Tip: Please use the Oxford or serial comma. There has been a lot of debate about this, but it is important to use it to alleviate any confusion: She used pink, yellow, and blue feathers. Not: She used pink, yellow and blue feathers. The second one (without the comma) implies that the second feather was a combination of blue and yellow and not two separate feathers, each a different color.

Jumpstart: It was drawn on the back of an old envelope. I stood there with it clutched in my hand…