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Think Like a Journalist, Write Like an Editor: Tips from the Pros

Ernest Hemingway famously said, ‘All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ For George Orwell, ‘Good prose should be transparent, like a window-pane.’ In this special guest post, Justin Osborne offers some top tips for writers drawn from the wisdom of the great and the good of the world of letters.

Writing is not always a skill that comes naturally to people. While it can be a struggle for some people more than others, there are a few standard techniques everyone can use to create engaging pieces. These methods, directly from expert journalists and editors, are designed to help both seasoned writers and everyday people create the best writings possible.

Know Your Audience

Just as you have your own voice when you speak, the content you write has its own style that you have developed over time. Typically, you’re accustomed to using informal language with family and friends, while you might sound more professional with coworkers, managers, and other high-powered leaders. Journalists and editors alike understand the importance of writing in a way that is catered to your audience. Before you begin to write, honestly consider to whom you are speaking and the voice you would like to use. Read the rest of this entry

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22 Interesting Facts about Writing

Fun facts from the world of writing

Since we launched this blog in 2012, we’ve uncovered all sorts of curious facts about the written word. We’ve also encountered some interesting trivia about the process of writing, and about how writers write. We hope you enjoy them.

Elizabethan scribe Peter Bales reportedly produced a complete, handwritten copy of the Bible so small it could fit inside a walnut shell.

Friedrich von Schiller kept rotten apples in his desk, claiming he needed the scent of their decay to help him write.

Edith Sitwell reportedly liked to lie in an open coffin before she began her day’s writing. Read the rest of this entry

The Best Poetry Anthologies Every Poetry Fan Should Own

Five of the best collections of English poetry

What are the best English poetry anthologies? And how would one define ‘best’? The answer, of course, is that it’s always going to be subjective to a point. But it’s worth having a go at picking the greatest anthologies from which the poetry fan can choose. The poetry anthology is a great way not only of revisiting old favourites, but of discovering new poets. In this post, we’ve turned our attention to a kind of book that provides a highly valuable service for the poetry-lover. Many of these books can be purchased for the equivalent of the cost of lunch (depending on where you lunch, of course), or, at most, set back the book-buyer no more than a night out in the local pub would. And a volume of poetry can provide a lifetime of pleasure!

The Oxford Book of English Verse. Edited by Christopher Ricks, this anthology is, in our opinion, simply the best one out there. It’s beautifully produced on good-quality paper, presented in clear type, and the selections made by Ricks showcase, not necessarily the most famous poems by a particular poet, but the most moving, thought-provoking, and intriguing. Thus The Oxford Book of English Verse does what a good poetry anthology should do: Read the rest of this entry