gnat + writing   36

Behind The Book - Lessons Publishing a Bestselling Book
Reid and I rarely disagreed on style. We both agreed “punchy” (another favorite word of his) language is important to grab people’s attention. Clarity over flourish. Concision. There was one stylistic difference, though, that I found interesting. It has to do with the best way to open a discussion of an idea. He preferred to state the thesis or point of a section upfront, and then follow with the examples or anecdotes or detail. My instinct was to start with a story or anecdote — to throw the reader into a scene — and then zoom out and relay the lesson or point of it the section to come.

Starting with the thesis maximizes clarity; starting with a story maximizes engagement and draws the reader in (if you do it right). However, if the scene in which you throw the reader isn’t compelling, you lose the reader and never get the opportunity to make the point. We did a bit of both, but usually I deferred to him in how we opened sections. The Opportunities chapter, for example, begins with the thesis and then segues into the Groupon and George Clooney stories.
publishing  writing  books 
june 2013 by gnat
The Millions : The History of Humans is the History of Technology: The Millions Interviews Robin Sloan
RS: I’ve been working in public for years now, sharing inchoate ideas and notes on process along with finished work, and when you do that, you tend to pick up people who stick with you. I’d argue, though, that the manner is not particularly “untraditional” these days. In fact, I think it’s becoming the go-to model for people building new careers and communities.
Twitter is a big part of it; there’s something about the way people find and follow each other over there that seems to support this kind of slow, organic, durable growth over time.
business  writing 
november 2012 by gnat
Sentence-Combining Skills
explanations and exercises for building complex sentences
education  writing 
september 2012 by gnat
Writing Next (PDF)
summary of teaching strategies that improve middle and high school writing for students, including their effect sizes.
education  writing 
september 2012 by gnat
The Writing Revolution - Peg Tyre - The Atlantic
The Hochman Program, as it is sometimes called, would not be un­familiar to nuns who taught in Catholic schools circa 1950. Children do not have to “catch” a single thing. They are explicitly taught how to turn ideas into simple sentences, and how to construct complex sentences from simple ones by supplying the answer to three prompts—but, because, and so.
education  writing 
september 2012 by gnat
Knowing and Doing: January 2011 Archives
benefits of only putting good things into your mind
life  writing 
january 2011 by gnat
The Web Is a Customer Service Medium (
I call the people who say such things the Gutenbourgeois. They believe in the cultural primacy of writers and editors and they feel good—even a bit superior—about working in publishing. They believe it is their job to drive culture forward. The web, they are a little proud to admit, confuses them.
culture  internet  publishing  web  writing 
january 2011 by gnat
best review of Friedman ever
books  writing  fun 
january 2009 by gnat / editorial design
tabloid-sized newspaper made from favourite posts
media  writing  blogging  publishing 
january 2009 by gnat
Petzold Book Blog - Hard Work, No Pay: What's the Point?
Thoughtful piece not just about economics of publishing, but the nature of large vs small works.
books  writing 
november 2008 by gnat
Don’t Fact-Check the Soul - Measure for Measure Blog -
"Like everything else, given enough time and the long perspective, the opposite of those things that we think define us slowly becomes equally valid, and sometimes more potent."
november 2008 by gnat
prescient, but in a "boo, the future" context.
future  writing  sf  technology  books 
november 2008 by gnat
SHOUTS & MURMURS: My Gal: Humor: The New Yorker
The New Yorker rips Sarah Palin's interview style. Brutal. "I’m finding it hard to concentrate, as my eyes are killing me, due to I have not blinked since I started writing this. And, me being Regular, it takes a long time for me to write something this long."
writing  culture  politics  usa 
september 2008 by gnat
pointers to resources. Inspirational for the volume and depth.
writing  reference 
august 2008 by gnat
an amazing interview with Alan Moore on writing. first half is gold and applies to any written endeavour; second half is mostly comics.
writing  language 
august 2008 by gnat
The Lead
how to write a lede, via quinn
august 2008 by gnat
Book Reviews
advice for writing good book reviews
book  writing 
july 2008 by gnat
George Orwell: Politics and the English Language
(Read it) Unclear writing leads to unclear thought. Political language particularly bad. Easy phrases let other people do the thinking for you.
language  politics  writing 
may 2008 by gnat
Fiction | Self-knowledge and self-help |
"This is not a crude commercial how-to,.... Witty, concise, and composed with a lovely lightness of touch, Mr Wood's “How Fiction Works” should delight and enlighten practising novelists, would-be novelists and all passionate readers of fiction."
books  writing 
february 2008 by gnat
Pep Talk from Neil Gaiman | National Novel Writing Month
3/4 through you get despair. this is possibly true of everything.
february 2008 by gnat
The Economist Style Guide
A great read. I wish it were a Firefox plugin.
language  writing  reference  books 
july 2007 by gnat

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