Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This afternoon I addressed the eager new students at MSGAM by speakerphone. They've just started their nine-month journey to science writing excellence, and one of the first stops along the way was writing a story in the style of my employer. So I explained how we do our stories and answered questions.

It was fun - it's kind of nice to talk to beginners and be reminded how much I've learned since then. Like this piece of wisdom from The Great Curmudgeon, at my former employer: An editor can't make your writing any more interesting. Turn stuff in with that goofy touch (well, for me it's goofy - I gather other people have other styles), and if it's too much, the editor will pull it back. I kept self-censoring, and this was dumb. And also boring.

Who knows, they may have been rolling their eyes at my shimmering pearls of genius. But maybe, by some wild chance, they'd made it to this point in their career without anyone saying, "The easiest thing for your reader to do is to stop reading." I know I've only heard it 50,000 times. But, goldang it, it's true!

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