Sentence of the week

When writers ask me how they can improve their writing skills I always ask them about their reading. They often look at me somewhat deflated – ‘Did she not hear what I was asking?’ I can see them wondering. But, truly, emulating the work of other writers is the best way to improve your own writing. When I read, I’m always looking for great sentences. And when I find them, I write them down. (I’ve learned to do this immediately, usually by entering them into my iPhone.) Each week, I share one with you, providing the sentence, the author and my description of why I figure the sentence worked so well.

What does ‘roiling’ mean?

What does ‘roiling’ mean?
Reading time: About 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: roiling … I attended college at the very end of the 1970s. The place my children now attend — Read more...

What looks very much like a sly smile…

What looks very much like a sly smile…
Reading time: Less than 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on one written by Michael Pollan. Thanks to the urging Read more...

A bobbing little nod….

A bobbing little nod….
Reading time: About 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on one written by novelist Cathy Marie Buchanan. I picked Read more...

Bringing those big crazy birds back home…

Bringing those big crazy birds back home…
Reading time: About 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on one written by Jeanette Walls. I am in the minority whe Read more...

Several thousand of them would have to stand…

Several thousand of them would have to stand…
Reading time: About 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on one written by New Yorker writer Ian Frazier… How Read more...

Dorsey never feels the obligation to fill a silence….

Dorsey never feels the obligation to fill a silence….
Reading time: Just over 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on one written by D.T. Max. D.T. Max is a graduate of Read more...

As though he were turning to himself to ask a question…

As though he were turning to himself to ask a question…
Reading time: Just over 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on one produced by the talented American fiction write Read more...

A deep nostalgia for closets…

A deep nostalgia for closets…
Reading time: Less than 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on a sentence written by Jeremy Denk. Is it because my Read more...

Improbable and inexorable

Improbable and inexorable
Reading time: Just over 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on a sentence written by Hendrik Hertzberg I read the Read more...

Year by year, the earth would take them…

Year by year, the earth would take them…
Reading time: Less than 1 minute A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on a sentence written by American novelist John Willia Read more...