Category Archives: Writer’s toolbox

A little more on ethos-building: rhetorical devices that can make your writing more credible


When I wrote about strengthening your credibility I neglected to mention a couple of rhetorical devices that can help boost your ethos. “But what’s a rhetorical device?” No, a rhetorical device is not a speech-writing machine. First, rhetoric is the … Continue reading

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Simple structures for short messages


If you’re ever stuck for a way to organize some short content—an email message or a letter, for example—you can always steal borrow some ideas from public speakers: PREP, PEP, and Divide and Conquer.

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Agatha Christie and the Case of the Messy Notebooks


How did Agatha Christie—author of more than 70 novels, more than 140 short stories, and 22 plays—manage to generate and keep track of all of the ideas that went into her works? How did she develop the characters with their … Continue reading

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James Geary on metaphor


Here’s author and aphorist James Geary explaining the ubiquity and power of metaphor:

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The Art of the Quotation


It seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? We can give our own words sparkle, heft, and melody by using someone else’s. The long history of the art of quotation—shortly after Adam said the first words, somebody quoted him—amply proves its … Continue reading

Posted in Growing as a writer, Quotations, Writer's toolbox | 1 Comment

Tool Time: Format your words with styles


I frequently collaborate on projects with several different people, exchanging documents to review and revise. And all too often, I see documents where all of the formatting—bold, italic, font, type size, and so on— has been set manually. That’s the … Continue reading

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Software review: myWriterTools


Yes, I know, I know. But I have an excuse: I’ve been a bit preoccupied with things like rising rivers lately. The Red River—not the one in Texas, but the one that runs north along the North Dakota-Minnesota border and … Continue reading

Posted in Reviews, Writer's toolbox | 2 Comments

Document collaboration: Bringing it together with TextFlow


If you’ve ever had to work with other writers on a document, you know that the workflow can become a hassle. Who works on it when? You can trade the file back and forth by email, or by passing a … Continue reading

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Paper and pen


Author and blogger Tobias Buckell explains why pen and paper are much more than a last resort for a writer who doesn’t have access to a computer. On the contrary, sometimes they’re exactly the right tool for the job (as … Continue reading

Posted in Elsewhere on the Web, Writer's toolbox | 6 Comments

The writer’s friends: Sticky notes and note cards


You might be surprised how much a stack of sticky notes or note cards can do for your writing. Last week, I said that I should give some practical advice to writers who are having trouble organizing their topics. Sometimes … Continue reading

Posted in Growing as a writer, Writer's toolbox | 4 Comments