Friday, September 23, 2011

Around the Word

E-readers and e-writers: Can you be a writer without being a reader? The answer may seem obvious to most of us, but many young, aspiring writers are showing an odd disinterest in consuming the words of others. Writer and editor Buzz Poole tackles this question about the future of prose in a post on the design blog Imprint. Poole worries that the popularity of constant social interaction (via social networking) among young people is creating a generation of would-be writers who are never solitary enough to actually read. He cites Boston University writing teacher William Giraldi, who was moved to understand the looming predicament he observed in his students by addressing it as an open ended analogy, which we invite you to finish:  Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to _____ without wanting to _____. Email us your responses, or leave them in the comments below.

The king's speechwriters: If any of you speechwriting pros wonder what life/work is like for our peers across the pond, we'd encourage you to check out this write-up of the recent U.K. Speechwriter's Guild conference by our friend Charles Crawford. He overviews the highs and lows of the public-speaking contests and conference presentations, with one notably universal takeaway. Though many of the presenters were professional speechwriters, that didn't guarantee that they were all particularly polished speakers. As he puts it, "It's one thing to be a good speechwriter. Quite another to be a good public speaker." How do you transition from writer to speaker when delivering a speech?

Editing e-books: In our rapidly changing information age, sometimes a book becomes outdated shortly after it's published. So what do you do if you've written a thriller using Osama bin Laden as a character, only to find out that he's been killed? If you're Richard North Patterson, you jump on the computer and revise the e-book, then make the new version available to consumers. Though second editions and revised versions are nothing new to publishing, e-books have made post-production editing all the easier and speedier, writes Laura Bennett in the New Republic. Authors can go back and change their book with the click of a button, and e-book buyers can have the new version downloaded in seconds. Bennett asks the same question we would: "Is this a sign that our expectation for a book is shifting from finished product to perpetual work-in-progress -- or just the logical conclusion of a long tradition of multiple, unstable texts?"

The all-powerful "awesome": A word that has gone from reverent to surfer slang to ubiquitous to slightly retro, "awesome" is often the default adjective of praise for just about anything. How did Americans develop such a love-hate, slightly obsessive relationship with this not-so-super superlative? Check out this story in Intelligent Life magazine about the evolution of the term. It's pretty (ahem) awesome.

Hyphen hype: The hyphen is a particularly slippery grammatical tool. For example, why are "follow" and "up" sometimes hyphenated and other times not? Why is "de-emphasize" hyphenated while "debrief" is not? To avoid any future hyphen missteps, check out this refresher from Ragan on the rules for using this tricky little dash.


gp said...

Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to kiss without wanting to hug.

John Kador said...

Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to chew without wanting teeth.

D. Asyre said...

Wanting to write without wanting to read is like my son in second grade. Luckily, he's grown out of that.

colleen said...

Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to live without wanting to breathe.