Friday, November 21, 2008

"Be obscure clearly." *

Writing Down the BonesThe act of writing is a curious thing. We mark down symbols that represent sounds, objects, emotions and concepts according to seemingly arbitrary rules and conventions. We assume that the people who read them will know the same sounds, objects, emotions and concepts that are in our minds.

Whether we write for joy, compulsion or money, there are a plethora of resources to ease or enhance the writing process. For the basics, every Library branch has dozens of books on grammar and vocabulary, as well as dictionaries and thesauruses. Once you know the basics, you can delve further into the nuances of writing with style, usage and punctuation. While there are specific rules, you can bend them to make your writing reflect your voice.

Eats, shoots & leaves: the zero tolerance approach to punctuation Once you've written an essay, story, novel, screenplay or poem, you may want to share it with others. The Library has the Writer's Market series and other resources to help you identify which magazines or publishers might best match your style.

There are useful online resources as well. SFPL has links to book trade information, lists of local resources including workshops and publishers, reference sources and online dictionaries. has pages for fiction writers and poets. There are also great resources for online publishing.

On writing: a memoir of the craft But if you've learned the rules, workshopped and written till your brain is numb, and you still haven’t published, you can find solace on the Literary Rejections on Display blog. If you prefer something more inspirational, these quotations about writing are full of gems.

* - E. B. White

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