This morning I was looking at a writer’s website and once again wondered about an anomaly I see all the time in author bios. You know what I mean: those short blurbs that appear on book jackets, at online bookstores and fan sites, on guest posts, conference programs, and other hangouts where writers need to be identified.
Philip Gerard’s new book is The Art of Creative Research (University of Chicago Press, 2017). He teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Shop Talk invited Gerard to talk about an example of what he means by “creative research.”
CMOS: How did you come to think about writing as “flabby”? HS: Many years ago, I read Richard Lanham’s book Revising Prose, which influenced me deeply as a writer. Lanham teaches you to identify the “lard factor” in your writing, based on the percentage of words that you could omit without significantly changing its meaning. The Writer’s Diet follows similar principles, but with
CMOS: How did medical school happen after you seemed set for a career in journalism? Was it your intention all along to combine the two?
Bill Walsh has been at the Washington Post’s copy desk for nearly two decades, riding out changes in both the newspaper business and the wider world of publishing. He helms their live grammar and style chat, Grammar Geekery with Bill Walsh, ruling on everything from hashtags to whether puns are encouraged at the Post.
Language lovers now have a new place to get their linguistic fix. Schwa Fire is a new, digital-only magazine devoted to language journalism. Its founder, Michael Erard, is aiming for the publication to be “This American Life, but for language” and has already put out a strong first issue. Both paid and free content . . .
Author and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg works both on daily columns and full-length books. In this month’s Shop Talk, he offers some insight into his writing process, how he approaches each medium, and how he knows when he has truly finished with a piece of writing.