award-winning author & playwright
This page offers a variety of tips and guidance for writers.
To start with, I've included an excerpt from a book on writing that I began a few years ago, before I got very busy with playwriting. If you're wondering whether you should write or not, or whether you should drink while doing it, you might enjoy what I have to say “On Writing.” All you have to do is Click. . .
High-protein, low-calorie food-for-thought on how to write well.
A note on the posts below: they cover a few points of grammar and style to help you strengthen your writing, and several suggestions about how to approach different kinds of writing projects, both nonfiction and fiction (including plays). When referring to writers in general, I've used the neutral "they" instead of he/she or "one," except in a few cases where "they" and "their" made the sentences cumbersome and ambiguous. In those cases I use "she/her" or "he/him" interchangeably.
Before we get started, I want to provide the following LIVING LANGUAGE DISCLAIMER: There is no such thing as “correct” vs “incorrect” English. Even the idea of “grammatically correct” is not as absolute as you might think; grammatical rules are not ordained by God. For most of human history, grammatical rules did not exist. Look at Shakespeare and you’ll see all kinds of usages that would later be considered grammatically incorrect. And here’s the larger point: living languages (as opposed to dead ones like Latin or Neanderthal), change constantly. Each generation frowns upon the new words and phrases of the next generation, but the language keeps rolling on, ever-changing. Today’s slang or ungrammatical speech is tomorrow’s normal usage. Think of language like a webpage that constantly refreshes itself.
WHAT THIS DISCLAIMER MEANS FOR THIS BLOG: Several of the entries you’ll see here involve grammar, by which I mean the grammatical rules that dominated American English in the 20th century. Now, in the 21st century, those rules rule . . . not so much. Because I was educated in the grammar of the 20th century, I’m emotionally connected to it. But nothing on earth stays the same, including grammar. So: any grammatical rules you find here may be outmoded by the time you finish reading. A century from now, those rules will probably look like fossils of extinct forms of speech. In which case, they’ll be an interesting record of what American writers once considered “good English.”