Good night, good doctor

Stictly speaking, this piece isn’t about writing. But its prose is a beautiful example of well-chosen and well-placed words. Oliver Sacks, who is a doctor as well as a writer, has bid us farewell. He should know he will be missed. And that he continues to teach those of us who would try to touch each other with words.

My Own Life –

Take it from Zoë

wpid-2015-02-08-20.03.06-1.jpg.jpegZoë Sharp is as another generous British author who was a featured presenter at Love Is Murder in Chicago last weekend. Not only did she take part in panels, she conducted a master class and, at tea time Saturday, she demonstrated self-defense techniques (with the help of Robert Goldsborough, who recovered with a seated massage in the exhibit hall shortly after).
In the master class, one tip she offered was to give careful thought to where to start your story. Sure, that’s not new advice. But in the context of her presentation, I completely rethought the beginning of a book I’ve been working on for the last couple years. That was one of the moments that made the whole conference worth the price of admission.
If you’re unfamiliar with Zoë’s work, even if you aren’t a fan of suspenseful stories, take a look at her Charlie Fox series. If you do nothing more than make a study of her first lines, she’ll inspire you. Check out her website, At the Sharp End … .

Reading Irish

My experience with Irish writers has often been a sense of eavesdropping on someone’s personal conversation. I can’t explain why I feel this way. I just feel a certain raw nerve in what I’ve read.
In any case, I found eavesdropping on this conversation with Anne Enright enlightening. The world view is different from what most of my US-centric writing friends exhibit.

Anne Enright: How the world reads Irish writers

Write until you’re a writer

This Harvard Business Review article is not about writing. It’s meant to help people learn new skills in the workplace. But as I read it, I realized one way it applies to writers is in its advice to mimic the successful behavior of others.
If you want to be a good manager, copy the behavior of the best managers you’ve worked for. If you want to be a good writer, copy the behavior of the best writers you’ve read. And what do they do? They write.

You’re Never Too Experienced to Fake It Till You Learn It – HBR

She writes in beauty like the night …

Do you admire particular writers? Do you wish you could write as they do? Have you ever consciously studied what they do? Broken down their technique by the line, the phrase, the word? Here’s a discussion of beautiful writing that could help you make your own study of what others have done well. Consider keeping a notebook nearby as you read so you can begin your own collection.
On Noticing Beautiful Writing