Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jack Hart

Jack Hart, began work at “The Oregonian” as a reporter, arts and leisure editor, and Sunday Magazine editor, before becoming a training editor and managing editor. He holds a University of Wisconsin doctorate in Mass Communications and has taught at five universities. Hart is a frequent lecturer at Harvard’s prestigious Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism.

Jack Hart is also the author of A Writer’s Coach: An Editor’s Guide to Words That Work, released as a Pantheon hardback in 2006 and as a Vintage Books paperback in 2007. “A Writer’s Coach” is Hart’s effort to make writing less painful for the rest of us. The book can help any writer learn the tricks and habits of good writers.

“Just about everybody agrees that good writing is tight, that it’s forceful,” Hart explains. “Good writing incorporates lively verbs and clean syntax. It’s colorful. It includes descriptive elements that can put you in the scene. It’s rhythmic. ” Developing a process to get you there is not some closely guarded mystery, Hart explains, but the step-by-step conquest of craft.

Introduction by Marianne Klekacz ;
"On my desk most days is my favorite teacup of the moment. It carries the following inscription: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” I like it because it reminds me that writing is darned hard work.

Tonight’s featured writer is definitely a professional. After decades in journalism, he’s compiled the knowledge he gathered as a writer and editor into A Writer’s Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies That Work.

Jack maintains that good writing can dance. His book is not your standard “how-to” manual but rather a comprehensive discussion of what it takes to get better and better, to become part of the continuous conversation that is literature. It’s earned a favored place on my bookshelf, right next to the “little White book,” Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

Behind every great writer is a great editor. But until you can afford to hire a great editor, you need to develop those editorial skills yourself. A Writer’s Coach is a great place to start. Its discussions of brevity, clarity, rhythm, and connecting to other humans will help you look at your work with a clearer eye.

Jack doesn’t neglect the “no-noes” either. A Writer’s Coach also provides some choice advice about creeping nouns and passive verb constructions, dangling modifiers, the dreaded adverb, and hackneyed language and clich├ęs.

This is a book that will enrich your writing and your pleasure in reading.
So let the dance begin. Please join me in welcoming Jack Hart."

Photo by Carla Perry