Stephen King questions the productivity of novelists

Stephen King

Reading time: Just over 1 minute This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a New York Times article by Stephen King... I've never been a fan of horror. But even though the genre doesn't appeal to me, I wanted to learn why so many people rave about Stephen King. Several yea... Read More

UBC and crisis communications

UBC and crisis communications

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes At last, a semblance of normalcy is starting to take hold at the University of British Columbia. But it's been a wicked few weeks with the terms UBC and crisis communications existing together, uncomfortably, in the same sentence.... Someone who understands crisis communications — I'm guessing it's a high-paid consultant — is finally at the helm at ... Read More

As though tickling a small animal…

Emily Gould

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a metaphor from Emily Gould... I read Emily Gould's novel, Friendship, under false pretences. Somehow I thought she was the daughter of Stephen Jay Gould, author of Ever Since Darwin and many other fine books with a biological theme. But as I started ... Read More

What’s the origin of the word folderol

folderol

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: folderol. When I re-read the 1963 novel The Group, recently, I was struck by the notion that our collective vocabularies have become less rich over the last 50 years. Does anyone else feel that way? In this easy-to-read book, I... Read More

Why the best writers have the most emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence "Aha, I've proven them wrong. My one true friend — my computer — says I have high EI!"

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes You've probably heard the term "emotional intelligence" lots of times. Did you know it was something that could help writers do their work better? I read the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence — also known as EI — by Daniel Goleman, in 1996 when my kids were two years old. My husband and I used to enjoy debating which of our children had the most EI... Read More

Candidate for a Pulitzer Prize?

perils of spell checkers

Reading time: Less than 1 minute This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a poem about the perils of spell checkers... My supremely irritating spell checker insists on "correcting" words that aren't wrong. For example, whenever I write the word "hotlink" it always tries t... Read More

Anatomy of a UBC presidential crisis…

UBC presidential crisis

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes Unless you live in Vancouver you may not be aware of the UBC presidential crisis that's occurring right now. Even if you live here, however, the scale of it is hard to believe... I once made a bad hiring mistake. I was 20 years old, working at a weekly newspaper and I'd selected a person for a job — she had to take classified ads over the phone — for wh... Read More

With a little frown shirring and ruching her forehead…

Mary McCarthy

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about some metaphors and similes from Mary McCarthy... I first read the 1963 novel, The Group, by Mary McCarthy, when I was 20 years old. I remember enjoying it but recall no other details. Something pressed me to read it again and I did, while on vacation la... Read More

What does cynosure mean?

cynosure

Reading time: Just over 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: cynosure... I'm always thrilled when readers suggest books I can read. About two months ago, Harry Herskovitz recommended to me In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette. The gripping acc... Read More

How to build your own style sheet

how to build a style sheet

Reading time: About 5 minutes Have you ever wondered how to build a style sheet? Has your boss ever asked you to create one? Here's a straightforward guide on how to accomplish the task... I’ve long held the belief that good copy editors are born, not made. I’m a very good substantive editor — I understand how to make text more interesting and readable. I know about the merits of tra... Read More