January 20 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Eugene Sue (1804), Nathaniel Willis (1806), Richard Le Gallienne (1866), Johannes Jensen (1873), Forrest Wilson (1883), Jean S. Macleid (1908), Abram Hill (1910), Joy Adamson (1910), Blair Lent (1930), Robert Olen Butler (1945), Nancy Kress (1948), R.A. Salvatore (1959), Tami Hoag (1959), Fareed Zakaria (1964), Vanessa Diffenbaugh (1978)

Johannes V. Jensen was a Danish author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1944.

Nancy Kress is an American science fiction writer (winner of both Hugo and Nebula awards) and also writes nonfiction books on writing.

Nathaniel Parker Willis was a poet and editor who worked with writers like E.A. Poe and Longfellow. He was the highest-paid magazine writer of his day.

R.A. Salvatore is best known for his Demon Wars Saga. Twenty-two of his titles have made the NYTimes bestseller list.

Robert Olen Butler won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1993 for “A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain”.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the co-founder of the Camelia Network – an organization that helps children aging out of foster care.

Eugene Sue – French novelist whose work “Mathilde” contains the first use of the phrase “revenge is a dish best served cold”.

Forrest Wilson won the 1942 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for “Crusader in Crinoline: The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe”.

Blair Lent won the 1973 Caldecott Medal for Tikki Tikki Tembo.

Quote: “You can’t fake it. Bad writing is a gift.” – Richard Le Gallienne

Tip: You can split wood, but please don’t split infinitives. An infinitive consists of “to” along with a verb: to run, to jump, to breathe, to play, etc. When you stick a modifier in between them—to quickly run, to suddenly jump, to deeply breathe, etc.—you’re splitting them. Move the modifier elsewhere: to run quickly, to jump suddenly, to breathe deeply. Sometimes moving the modifier creates an awkward phrase. In this case, try rewriting the sentence for better flow.

Jumpstart: Pick a room in your house – preferably one that you are not in – and describe it in detail – colors, furniture, knick-knacks, dust bunnies, everything. Use this description as a setting for a scene.

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