Rhetoric and poetry supply life with its highest intellectual pleasures; and in the hands of virtue are of great use for the impression of just sentiments, and recommendation of illustrious examples. — Samuel Johnson


There is a surfeit of books about writing, ranging from freshman composition texts to writers’ guides. Some of them are excellent. Others offer a lot of anodyne, boiler plate advice organized in outline fashion, with a cookbook like feel, often overly general as a result of the author’s objective of covering every question a novice writer might have.

This site is devoted to the craft and principles of writing: my observations re same; my education and training as a writer; the craft of writing from the perspective of a writer in his or her writing workshop; the principles of good writing, adumbrated here, and illustrated with examples from the great writers and from journalism; the fine points of grammar and style; my take on advice from grammar and style manuals; what can be learned from examining bad as well as good writing; vocabulary, wording, and usage; and ancillary issues such as, political correctness as it has been applied to published material and language policing of writing.

These posts come at the principles and mechanics of writing, and issues of style, from many different vantage points, and drawing upon my actual experience as a writer.

My aim is to cover these topics in depth, using actual examples from published writers and from my own experience as a writer.


Roger W. Smith