Sooner or later, every writer is going to have to interview an expert. Students might be required to do so for an assignment; for creative writers, interviews are sources of stories, anecdotes, quotes, and details that can't be gleaned ... Read More
Today we're continuing our discussion of research, with a focus on a special type of primary source - the expert. First, what do I mean when I say "expert"? As a former scientist and writer of sciencey books, I ... Read More
Last time we compared primary and secondary sources and talked about how to use them when researching writing assignments or creative projects. Today, we're getting a bit more practical, with some tips for finding and accessing peer-reviewed journal articles, ... Read More
We are going to be devoting many Teach Write columns to the intricacies of research for student and professional writers. Today, we are starting with the fundamentals: the difference between primary and secondary sources. Students need to understand this ... Read More
School is starting soon (however strange and remote it may be), which means... writing assignments! Today on Teach Write, we are talking about coming up with ideas for writing on assigned topics.
True story: most of my children's books are ... Read More
The human brain is really good at filtering out extraneous information. It's a survival instinct meant to focus our attention on things essential to life (ripe cherries!) and things that might kill us (bears!). Grappling with these big picture ... Read More
When asked where we get our ideas, writers often joke "The idea store." In an age where we can type "writing prompts" into Google and return literally thousands of starting points for our next masterpieces, it's actually not that ... Read More
For the last few months, we've been talking about the first two things we must do before we sit down to write:
Identify our audience
Who are we writing for? Kids, adults, professional peers, our teachers?
What does that audience need from ... Read More
For the last few months, we've been looking at the purpose of different genres of writing, and the way the purpose of a document affects our approach to the task. Most of those columns focused on academic writing, but ... Read More
Personal statements and letters of intent... with the possible exception of the dissertation, there are no forms of academic writing quite as likely to turn an ordinary student into a quivering ball of overwhelming anxiety.
Deep breaths, all. I am ... Read More
Last time, I talked about the purpose of the most popular form of academic writing - the argumentative essay. You can also read about the distinct (but closely related) purposes of lab reports and scientific papers here. If you're ... Read More
Happy New Year, and welcome to January, also known as "the start of a new semester." Which means it's a perfect time to talk about the most common form of writing assigned by university professors - the essay. Students ... Read More
If you're new to this column, we've spent the last couple months talking about the influence that our intended audience has on the way we approach a piece of writing, and now we're discussing purpose - the goal of ... Read More
As part of our preparation for writing a new piece, we need to think about audience - who we are writing for and how the knowledge and needs of that audience affect the way we approach our work. Figuring ... Read More
This will be our final column on audience (at least for now). So buckle up for a crash course on age levels in children's literature!
First, a caveat: the categories I'm presenting here are not absolute. Different people use different ... Read More
Last time, we discussed the special, double audience that we have to consider when writing a class assignment for a teacher. Hopefully that advice will help all the students that have now gone back to school! The audience* for ... Read More
Listen up, students, because this edition of Teach Write is all for you: today, we continue our exploration of audience with a critical one: teachers.
When teachers give us writing assignments, they are trying to measure two things: Read More
Last time we talked about why it's important for writers to think about audience - the readers we are writing for. Today, let's dig a little deeper into types of readers, and identify some questions we can use to ... Read More