David Foster Wallace on Bryan Garner

Some of you (well, my mom) may know about my obsessions with David Foster Wallace and Bryan Garner. Wallace is an essayist (A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, Consider the Lobster) and fiction writer (e.g., Infinite Jest); Garner is the author of the definitive and comprehensive Garner’s Modern American Usage. The two men are very different writers, but …

Does your work have backup?

Oh, goodness. Husband has just sent me this reminder of why writers, editors, designers — well, everyone — must have a system in place for backing up files regularly (ideally, automatically). An entire issue of Business 2.0 magazine was accidentally deleted before going to print. Much of the content had to be recreated from scratch — and still make the …

Sweet vindication: How to pronounce “forte”

Friends of mine may know about the infamous editor who once “corrected” me during a job interview–when I was doing the interviewing, mind you–on my pronunciation of the word forte. I pronounced it FOR-tay, only to have said editor, after a few minutes of conversation, mention that “the word should actually be pronounced FORT, because it’s actually a French word.” …

For the New York Public Library, Love is Unhappiness and Death

I must pause in my editing this morning to ask an important question. Are the people at the New York Public Library crazy? Reuters reports that the NYPL has just released a list of its “10 greatest love stories of all time.” Although I completely agree that “Instead of trying to glean wisdom from Britney’s (Spears) latest meltdown,” it’s better …

Rampant Creativity 2: Bruce Lee

In this periodic series of posts, the writers and editors here at Dragonfly bow their heads in honor of our wonderful designers — and the rampant creativity that inspires them. Man paints giant Bruce Lee mural using only the blades of his hands and a good deal of black paint. What else is there to say? Video courtesy of La …

The dilemma of social media

David Esrati at the Next Wave is a big proponent of companies’ participating actively in social media — having blogs on their websites, for example, as a way of increasing their site content and therefore the value of their site, and the amount of traffic the site brings in. Here are some excerpts from a comment I wrote in response …

Rampant Creativy 1: Peeps Diorama

In this periodic series of posts, the writers and editors here at Dragonfly bow their heads in honor of our wonderful designers — and the rampant creativity that inspires them. Ye who call yourself creative, bow down before the regular Joes (and designers) who submitted entries to the Washington Post‘s first-ever Peeps Diorama Contest. View the slideshow here.

Time to cut out these cliches

Morgana at Best Room in the House forwards to me today a list of some of the world’s most annoying jargon. Maybe you’ve already had it e-mailed to you. If not, here it is, for your reading pleasure. Core of my being — If you run across this in written form, just click the back button or close the book. …

The Power of Storytelling

If you’re a writer, take five minutes today to listen to this discussion by Ira Glass, NPR correspondent and host of my personal favorite radio show of all time, This American Life. Glass discusses the power of storytelling in capturing peoples’ interest — even in fairly boring material. Publications coach Daphne Gray-Grant, in her weekly newsletter, Power Writing, summarizes Glass’s …

4 reasons proposals fail

This is for all you proposal writers out there … Ben Yoskovitz at the InstigatorBlog talks about the top 10 reasons why proposals fail. A few of his most important points: They don’t reference the prospect’s pain. Why did the prospect ask you for a proposal? You better have a crystal clear answer to that question. Too many proposals don’t …