Blocked? Go around

As the author of 469 books (more or less*), Isaac Asimov didn’t seem to have a problem with writer’s block. Why not? Here’s what he had to say in a 1989 interview: “I could easily have writer’s block by working on only one thing. You get tired of working on something, something sticks you, and … More Blocked? Go around

Fresh gibberish

Good editors help their clients to write clearly. At least they try to. Unfortunately, some clients dislike the simple, declarative sentence. This can be especially true with business executives who want to brag about how wonderful their companies are. They’ve been tricked into thinking that dense, convoluted sentences convey a kind of corporate gravitas. Or … More Fresh gibberish

Naming names

If you are writing fiction and having trouble making up character names, take a cue from people who have had to name themselves in real life. It’s hard for a cowboy to swagger into a saloon when his name is named Marion Morrison. But once he changed it to John Wayne, he sounded like he … More Naming names

Words and music

Dorothy Hammerstein was not shy about making sure that her husband, Oscar, got credit for his lyrics. There are several variations of an anecdote where she corrected someone who gave Jerome Kern all the credit for writing “Ol’ Man River.” “Mr. Kern did not write ‘Ol’ Man River.’ Oscar wrote ‘Ol’ Man River,’ ” she … More Words and music