Tagged With writing

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Ever notice those "reading level" stats that Microsoft Word shows you? They make it seem like writing to a higher level is good, and writing to a lower level is dumb. But the opposite is true. Shane Snow, founder of content-marketing site Contently, compared the reading levels of several bestselling books. Michael Crichton's work came in at an year eight reading level. Thomas Pynchon came in at year seven, Jane Austen at five, Ernest Hemingway at four, Goodnight Moon at three.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Every now and then, you have to write something longhand for someone else to read: A note, a notice, a birthday card. If you're like the many people we've gotten notes or notices or birthday cards from, it sometimes comes out illegible. We've presented many methods for improving your handwriting, but before you try them, just try slowing the hell down.

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We all listened to Oprah's acceptance speech for the Cecil B. de Mille Award? Yes? Good. Did you notice how even though she's Oprah, and could probably make us cry by reading a takeaway menu backward, she put a ton of work into her speech? And how through that work, she took a celebration of her accomplishments, respected that premise, but turned it into a rallying cry for the forces of good? Next time you speak in public, would you like to be a little more like Oprah?

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Learning how to write is like learning how to play a musical instrument: Once you learn the basic rules -- grammar, spelling and punctuation -- and are writing technically correct sentences, there's a still the whole world of syntax, diction and style to conquer. And this is where writers, like musicians, have opinions: Is it better to write straightforward, no-frills prose, or to weave verbal flights of fancy that illustrate complex, poetic sentiments?

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In my six semesters as an English major, this is the best thing I learned: When in doubt, put the best bit of a sentence at the end, the next-best bit at the beginning and the rest in the middle. So in order of bestness, that's 2, then 3, then 1.

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Stories have shapes. Any story you tell works best if you recognise its shape, then strengthen that shape. This applies to a story of any length, whether you're putting in your 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month 2017, or honing your favourite party anecdote, or even marketing something, including yourself. It even applies to Hemingway's famous six-word story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

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If you're looking for an all-in-one program to handle your novel-writing needs, then WriteWayPro is worth a look. The creator recently made the Professional edition free, so there's no harm in giving it a download.

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Roxane Gay has published five books in the last seven years, all acclaimed, all incisively addressing social issues that define our society, such as feminism, race, body image, racial and sexual violence, and the immigrant experience. Three - her essay collection Bad Feminist, her short story collection Difficult Women, and her memoir Hunger - were US national bestsellers.

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While sales of computers and tablets are relatively flat there's one market that continues to grow at a strong rate. Despite our increasing dependence on tech to capture information, pen sales are growing according to Belinda Lyone, the group general manager of office supply company COS.

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This past month I participated in National Novel Writing Month (also known as "NaNoWriMo"). It was fun, exhausting, stressful and, at times, miserable. But it was also one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned regarding time management and creativity.

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In this episode we talk to Mira Jacob, author of the novel The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing, about how her novel took her 10 years to write, and what she learned in the process. We also hear from Lifehacker staff writers Nick Douglas, Patrick Allen and Beth Skwarecki about National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo), wherein writers pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Beth has completed NaNoWriMo 10 times; Patrick is trying it this year for the first time. Nick investigates why anyone would do such a thing.

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National Novel Writing Month is all about putting your head down and cranking out as many words as you can, but it can still be fun to make it a social experience, too. A write-in is just what you need to keep you and your fellow scribblers motivated. Here's how to set one up.

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Julian Gough, Irish novelist, memoirist, poet and playwright, gives densely packed advice in his essay How To Edit Your Own Lousy Writing. He explains the "job" that a first, second and third draft each do, editing a hypothetical scene as a concrete example.

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One of the best things about NaNoWriMo, or any terrifying deadline, is that it forces you to write quickly. (Hello, procrastinators.) If writing quickly is your stated goal, then you don't have time to do the number one thing that interrupts your writing flow: Think about whether what you're writing is good.

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One of the many things Leonardo da Vinci was famous for was writing his notes backwards. There's a lot of speculation about why he would do that but even without knowing, it's a neat little parlour trick that anyone can learn.