Writing is like a gift that keeps on giving if writers know how it teaches, clarifies and performs.
Good writing comes from thought and knowledge, awareness and practice, from words and how to put words together that become sentences and paragraphs, and how those paragraphs then transform into a story or novel, a nonfiction narrative or poem.
In our monthly newsletters, I will write about the practice of writing and how writing engages the mind through words and syntax and style. How these literary elements bring joy and beauty and awareness to readers and the vicarious pleasure of changing places with the characters in a story or a novel excerpt.
There will be posts on how to write crisp sentences and elegant phrases, choose between balance and symmetry, highlight the charm of parallel structure, resonate with the sense of sound and the prosody of poetry interspersed in a creative nonfiction narrative with dialogue and metaphorical imagination.
There will be posts on the elements of grammar and why writers should learn the prescriptive rules. Prescriptive grammar reinforces consistency and reassures readers that the writers they are reading know what they are doing. After all, readers want to know that the mind behind the writing understands the rules they are breaking.
I will show how usage is a different creature from grammar, and what is acceptable usage nowadays, like beginning a sentence with “because,” “and” or “but”; using “like” instead of “as”; “breathe” instead of “breath”; “effect” instead of “affect”; or ending a sentence with “at” or “of.”
There will be posts that explain how periods and commas, semicolons and colons should be used. Or how question marks in dialogue should be punctuated, and the period in English grammar falls inside the quotation marks. In other posts, I will go deep into the heart of the conventions of punctuation—and leave it up to writers to follow them or not.
I will write about syntactical structures and how enlightened writers use transitions between sentences to form a paragraph, and transitions between paragraphs show how coherence propels a story toward profound meaning and beauty. This is the content side of writing, when the presence of a coherent arc brings real joy—as long as the paragraphs connect inside the arc.
Finally, I will show how style is its own creation of the imagination.