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A Writer’s Craft Toolbox from the writers of, and

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A modification of Patricia O’Connor’s “Final Analysis” questions from Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing, Harcourt Brace, 1999 (218-220):

Do I still like the beginning?

Can I be simpler?

Can I be clearer?

Do I make sense?

Do my numbers add up? Check your facts and give references.

Do my sentences hang together?

Does each sentence follow the other smoothly?

Are my sentences varied enough?

Do my verbs pull their weight?

Are my verbs active?

Have I got rhythm?

Am I playing in tune?

Can I trim?

Have I made my case?

How’s my grammar?

Suggested Reading and Resources:

Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life, Harper Perennial, 1989.

Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Shambhala, 1986.

Williams, Joseph. Style: Toward Clarity and Grace (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing). 6th ed. New York: Longman, 1999. A thoughtful guide to the importance of sentence and paragraph structure, and how writing moves through a reader’s understanding. Breaking bad habits, too.

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anchor, 1995. Get a crappy first draft down, and then work it. Great to read if you are starting to feel blocked.

Wood, Monica. The Pocket Muse

Windows live writer and in your toolbar

Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) Online Morning pages. Do it!

Poets & Writers Online News and incredible array of resources for writers.

Bowling Green University — Excellent one-page link list to grammar info, style guides, tips of all kinds for writers

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab Includes info varying from process to proofing

Cleaning Your Copy Free self-directed online course–Groups. Bloggers are Writers (and sometimes Journalists).


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