The Writing Wizard

Recent Posts

Writing Tutor: Narrative Methods

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 1/18/13 11:18 AM

Greetings from the Writing Wizard! Continuing the thread of posts related to minimal language, maximal impact, today we’re going to talk about two editing strategies that may help you in your travels through the worlds of homework, papers, admissions essays, cover letters, etc.

Both originate in popular culture, although I can only definitively cite the source of the first strategy. This is called the “Reverend Maclean” and it comes to us from Norman Maclean’s beautiful book A River Runs through It, which was later made into an award-winning film directed by Robert Redford and starring Brad Pitt. In both text and movie, the story concerns a young Norman Maclean, home-schooled by his Presbyterian minister father, growing up at the dawn of the twentieth century in Missoula, Montana with his bad apple of a brother, Paul. 

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Tags: expository writing

The Writing Wizard: The Arsenal of Adjectives

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 12/28/12 12:46 PM

Happy New Year from the Writing Wizard! Today’s short post will introduce you to an important concept for all sorts of writing projects: The Arsenal of Adjectives.

Don’t be put off by the intimidating title; you won’t need a background in military strategy or nuclear arms proliferation theory to master this simple idea: have lots and lots of precise descriptive adjectives at your disposal when you sit down to write.

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Tags: English, expository writing

Writing Tips: Happy Thanksgiving from the Writing Wizard!

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 11/23/12 12:29 PM

Today is Black Friday, that infamous day in consumer culture marked by deep discounts, long lines, and equal demonstrations among Americans of civility and barbarity.  Although I am not in a position to offer you flat screen TVs, flannel sheet sets, or iPhones at incredibly low prices, I do want to partake in the spirit of the season and give you something for nothing. 

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Tags: creative writing, English, expository writing

The Writing Wizard: Expository Writing & Crafting your Argument

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 11/7/12 11:14 AM

The Writing Wizard is back again with a strange but useful tip for breaking through your mental blocks and clearing the cobwebs from the furthest reaches of your brain when you prepare to write.  Other people may think that you are a crazy person for doing this, or perhaps you do it already, but here it is: have a nice, long conversation with yourself. 

If you live in a major city like New York or Boston, chances are that you have encountered people on the street, walking alone, who seem engrossed in animated dialogue…with themselves.  “Oh, they’re just on a Bluetooth device,” you’ve told yourself reassuringly.  Or maybe upon further review, you’ve decided, “Nah, they’re just weird.”  Perhaps, however, they pertain to that elusive third category of auto-conversationalists – people trying to write good papers on deadlines.

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Tags: English, expository writing

Academic Tutor: Time Management & Taking Breaks

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 10/3/12 8:29 AM

Hello out there in TV Land!  The Writing Wizard is back with some short pieces of advice about time-management and self-confidence during the writing process. 

All too often, I hear students bemoan the time they “waste” on “unproductive” habits while working: generating sloppy first drafts that just end up in the trash bin; doing too many other things simultaneously with writing like checking the news or chatting and updating Facebook; editing before a full draft is done and then, later, realizing that the edited parts still need to get thrown out and reworked.  I am often asked how students can avoid these behaviors in order to become lean, mean, copy-producing machines.  The answer might surprise you.  I do not personally feel that a little Gmail and YouTube thrown into the term paper cocktail ruins the flavor, nor do I think that working through some really rough first drafts counts as wasted time.  The issue isn’t the activities themselves, but rather their perception and implementation. 

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Tags: study skills, expository writing

The Writing Wizard: Academic Skills & Your Outline -- Supersized.

Posted by The Writing Wizard on 9/10/12 11:56 AM


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Tags: college admissions, expository writing