John Green, of Mental Floss fame, takes a look at common spelling and grammar errors such as “Stationery vs. Stationary,” “Good vs. Well” and “Loose vs. Lose.”
Amanda Palmer takes the stage at the Muse as part of their NEA- funded “Publish it Forward” series.
It’s a very interesting talk on what it means to be a writer in the digital age.
You can teach almost anyone determined to learn the basics required to write sentences and paragraphs that say what you want them to say clearly and concisely. It’s far more difficult to get people to think like a writer, to give up conventional habits of mind and emotion. You must be able to step inside your character’s skin and at the same time to remain outside the dicey circumstances you have maneuvered her into. I can’t remember how many times I advised students to stop writing the sunny hours and write from where it hurts: “No one wants to read polite. It puts them to sleep.”
Now you may ask, what if my characters won’t talk to me? What if they won’t even visit? The only answer is to think and think some more, and then go out and read and look and listen some more. Do not sit and mope. Do not sigh. Do not throw up your hands and give up on the whole project. Do not go back to the drawing board. There is nothing more depressing than an empty drawing board. No, go back to the world, which is where all characters originally come from.