The Washington Post

What’d you say about the queen?

Tom Petty, short-form master! (Evy Mages/for the Washington Post)

That’s just one of the lessons imparted this morning at a how-to-write-short session piloted by Poynter writing coach Roy Peter Clark. Example: Shakespeare didn’t write, “The Queen is dead, my lord.”

He wrote, “The queen, my lord, is dead.” That way, you don’t forget about the queen’s condition.

There were a lot of other pieces of wisdom that came out of the 90-minute teach-in — including why Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’ ” kills it as a piece of short-form writing, as does “The Beer Can” by John Updike and Gene Weingarten’s small story about Manly Stanley — but I gotta keep this short.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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