This fall I’m releasing my new book, Write Better. To help celebrate that, we’re giving Andy Unedited a big facelift. What’s the new book about then?
Writing is hard work. So in Write Better I want to make the job easier, especially for nonfiction writers, and help them do it better. I’ve loved words, reading, and writing almost my whole life, and want to share what I’ve learned with others.
Why Write Better when there are already many good books on writing? First, many books on writing are actually memoirs of the writing life without much help on how to write. Many other helpful books get into the details of grammar, punctuation, and very specific style issues without considering broader topics. Write Better instead considers the larger issues of craft and art in writing, offering practical strategies on a wide range of topics.
Second, few books consider so deeply the spirituality of writing—that is, how the act of writing and publishing affects our life with God. The very personal and very public nature of writing can make us vulnerable in many ways. So I explore how knowing who we are and who we are in God make an enormous difference, as one example, when facing success or failure.
What are some of the things you’ll learn from Write Better?
- Coming up with strong openings and closings can be difficult. I not only show the wide variety that are possible but offer very practical strategies for developing the best ones.
- Being creative is not the sole domain of people who seem to have especially creative personalities. It is for all of us. In the book I show how we can develop these skills by following some simple, concrete practices.
- Using story and narrative is vital for nonfiction writing, not just for fiction. You’ll find how to use narrative to touch not just the mind but the whole person, moving readers not just emotionally but to live differently.
- Persuasion is often a dirty word these days. In the book I suggest how this time-honored skill can and should be redeemed and rehabilitated.
- Working to develop the right tone in our writing can set our writing apart and give it a power that lasts in the lives of readers. In Write Better you’ll find out how.
- On the issue of spirituality, writers can often bounce between great insecurity and a sense of superiority. I consider how to nurture, for example, the spiritual disciplines of humility and thankfulness which are especially important in properly ordering our relationships with God, with others, and with ourselves.
Having spent my whole career as a writer and editor, I am happy to offer a book on craft and character for writers because who we are as writers is as important as how and what we write.
In a day of fake news, alternative facts, and politicians regularly not just massaging the truth but fabricating it to their own benefit, the work of George Orwell seems like it was written in response to today’s news. The writer best known for 1984 and Animal Farm was adamant in his opposition to what he called newspeak–any doublespeak using convoluted and pretentious language to conceal the truth.
Continue reading ““And Tell the Truth. Tell the Truth.””
One of the many delightful features of Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel is his frequent use of apt similes and metaphors to paint vivid, miniature portraits of the cantankerous and lovable main character in A Man Called Ove.
Continue reading “A Man and His Metaphors”
Ron Brackin tells us, “Writers block occurs when a writer has nothing to say. Unfortunately not all writers experience it.”
But you are not like that. No, no, no. Obviously, you have something to say, even if you are not quite sure at the moment what that is. So how do you get unstuck?
Continue reading “Cracking the Writer’s Block 4: Life Issues”
Sometimes our writing is stuck because we don’t know where to start. For some of us, we need to know where we are going to end up before we can begin. And if we don’t, the ink has run out, our pencil is down to a nub, our muse is silent, and the battery to our laptop has died.
Continue reading “Cracking the Writer’s Block 3: Playing Balderdash”
So you are a writer with lots of ideas, but don’t know where to start. Or you have no ideas, with the same result. What do you do? Here are a few simple ideas to get you going.
Continue reading “Cracking the Writer’s Block 2: Quick Tips”
A publishing colleague of mine who worked with our book printers was fond of telling me, “With all the things that can go wrong in producing a book, it’s amazing the ink ever hits the page.”
What’s true for printers is true in spades for writers. With so many reasons for writer’s block it’s a miracle anyone writes anything.
Continue reading “Cracking the Writer’s Block 1: Fear, Success and Life”
My wife murders clichés. But because these are unpremeditated, we should probably reduce the charges to manslaughter.
Continue reading “I’ll Have a Cliché with a Twist, Please”
Bobby Fischer was a World Chess Champion who stood out as an eccentric genius in a field full of eccentric geniuses. As portrayed in the movie Pawn Sacrifice, he walked out of a chess match complaining about the lighting, ransacked his own hotel rooms looking for bugging devices, thought the Russians were watching him through his TV and believed the US government was listening to him through (wait for it) his dental fillings. Though his mother was Jewish, he was vocally anti-Semitic, holding to many conspiracy theories about Jews.
Continue reading “Bobby Fischer Played Tennis”
“The war tried to kill us in the spring.” From the first sentence of The Yellow Birds, we know that we are in capable hands. Kevin Powers is the well-named author who uses his formidable talent with understated power.
Continue reading “Understated Powers”