Monthly Archives: September 2015

“…the majority of writing problems that I encounter in student papers should not be considered problems so much as symptoms.”

Bad writing has many symptoms, but only one primary cause, according to John R. Trimble, University Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus at UT-Austin. The problem comes from the writer’s failure to be guided by the needs of the reader. Many novice … Continue reading

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“The problem is that an interesting life doesn’t make an interesting memoir.”

William Zinsser, author of Writing About Your Life, continues, “Only small pieces of a life make an interesting memoir.” Rather than attempting to write about important periods of history, “be content to tell your small portion of a larger story.” … Continue reading

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“Her father always said, ‘That loneliness of his,’ and when she saw it in him now, she felt lonely, even abandoned for the moment it lasted . .”

Writing about loneliness is surely one of those tricks that should come with the warning “Do not attempt this at home.” Often, descriptions of loneliness trigger disengagement. It takes a master, such as Marilynne Robinson, to write a novel about … Continue reading

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“Teaching is situational.”

One of the first lessons that new teachers learn is that it’s impossible to predict how well a workshop, lecture or discussion will work. Teaching is situational. What works well in one class might not work in another. That’s why … Continue reading

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