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Monthly Archives: September 2010

On Prewriting: The Story of GODS TOMORROW

Tweet You may or may not have missed it, but I didn’t post a Tech Writing series this week (Sunday-Tuesday). That wasn’t deliberate — and I apologize for ending last week’s series with a promise of information that didn’t get delivered. I’ll probably go ahead and post that series next week. That’ll probably be the […]

What I Learned About Writing This Week…from Zombies

Zombie stories aren’t about scary grossness — they’re about characters. The survivors and how they overcome or succumb to hardship: that is what zombie stories are about. And that, gentle readers, is what each of our stories should be about, no matter what our chosen genre…

On Reading Like a Writer: How to Write within Your Genre

Tweet This week we’re talking about becoming a better writer through your reading, and yesterday I talked about a college class I’m taking on that very topic. So far we’ve read How to Train Your Dragon, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, The Cinderella Deal, and First Lady. I don’t really read much young […]

On Reading Like a Writer: Every Page Counts

Tweet I’ve got to make an admission before I get too far into this topic, because there are just too many of you who know me in real life. I don’t really read a lot. Well…not a lot of books, anyway. I’m sure I spend 80% of my waking hours reading, but it’s far more […]

On Reading Like a Writer: Better than Expected

Tweet It’s time for another post about my dad. Before we dive in, let’s have a brief review: He’s an accomplished debater, and wins every fight with sheer Dadness He’s always been a natural storyteller He spent a long time wanting to write a book, and I spent a long time telling him he should […]

What I Learned About Writing This Week…from Georges Polti

Georges Polti’s The thirty-Six Dramatic Situations serves as interesting reference material because of his basic premise: that there’s no such thing as an original plot. Humankind exhausted its store of fresh, new situations long ago; “there is nothing new under the sun…”

On Document Style: How to Use Section Breaks in Microsoft Word

Tweet Here we go again, diving back into Microsoft Word and the murky world of section breaks with the next-to-last week in our month-long look at professional document formatting. This week we’ve been talking about page setup, and — like headers and footers and text columns before — page setup is a per-section setting. Changing […]

On Document Style: Page Layout

Tweet I started yesterday with a story about getting the most out of every page of my scribblebook. These day I actually do something pretty similar at work, twisting and reflowing thousand-page instruction books in an effort to shave printing costs while maintaining as much usability as possible. Your tax dollars at work. Paper Size […]

On Document Style: My First Scribblebook

Tweet I’ve waxed romantic around here before about scribblebooks, but that’s always been late in the week when I was talking to my creative writers. Scribblebooks are great for the Art School types, but they don’t have a lot of appeal for serious business writers. And actually…I complain sometimes about my day job, but I’ve […]

On Needing to Write: How to Write When You Really Don’t Want To

Tweet This week I’ve been talking about my experience with National Novel Writing Month in 2007. Thursday featured a big bragging story about my 120,000-word month, and yesterday I gave some useful advice about how to handle too much of a good thing. Nobody’s really coming here looking for advice about that, though, are they? […]