Recently, I found myself struggling to get through Dune by Frank Herbert. Not having much experience with heavy, world-based science fiction novels, my initial excitement to read all about the desert planet of Arrakis quickly turned into confusion and constant backtracking.
Imagine that you are a newbie art critic about to launch yourself into the reviewing game. You want to cover a new exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery, a startup in your city’s trendiest district.
Now that the weather is starting to resemble spring (depending on your location, of course), kids who have been cooped up too long are wanting to explore outside, enjoy the sunshine, and maybe even see their friends.
This may come as no surprise, but most Americans rarely venture into art galleries and museums. Adventurous vacationers may dash into museums such as the Louvre for quickie tours of iconic artworks—who doesn’t want to mention having seen the Mona Lisa? —but for the most part they stay out of commercial art galleries because they feel intimidated.
Visual art is a luxury enterprise. Art lovers may assert that it’s a psychological necessity, but even the most ardent will admit that no one starves for lack of art.
Are you a “foodie”—someone with a passion for kitchens and cuisine? Could your passion sustain you through writing reviews of restaurants? Would writing diminish or enhance your love affair with food? If you’re inclined to answer “enhance,” read on.
A substantial niche of the publishing industry known as “enthusiast” titles, automotive magazines are excellent sources for learning how to write concise, comprehensive, and entertaining reviews. Every month, Road and Track and Car and Driver run multiple reviews of new cars—each piece describing the vehicle’s concept, place in the overall market, fit, finish, features, handling, price, and value.
Received wisdom has it that successful writers are gifted geniuses, rare specimens endowed with rare talents. An hour spent in any library or bookstore will prove how wrong this is. You don’t have to be a virtuoso to enjoy a rewarding career as a writer. You don’t even have to be a very good writer to succeed. You simply have to be competent and consistent.
Historical upheavals and gut-wrenching personal conflicts aren’t the only kinds that keep readers turning the pages. Almost as important are small-scale conflicts— for example, political differences between friends or lifestyle differences between relatives.
Feet, feat, and fete: English is riddled with homophones, words that are pronounced alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings. In this case: your pedal extremities, an achievement, and a celebration—all concepts so wildly divergent that it would be difficult to mistake one for the other, unless you are relying on your word processor’s spell-check function to make sure you have used the right one.
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