On most Fridays, Evan Peterson rounds up five stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out.
Coming off the Oscars, it’s appropriate to consider the topic: What's the best movie ever about writing or a writer? One column offers some suggestion, including a top three.
It was also a week of refreshers, including when to use "it's" and "myself.” Read on:
Best movie about a writer:
The Academy Awards for screenwriting are likely the most interesting to writers. But despite all the great movies about writing, there's no award for that category. In a piece for The New York Times
, Roger Rosenblatt mentions several nominees for best movie about a writer or writing. These include two of my favorites, “The Lost Weekend” and “Sunset Boulevard,” but neither of those makes Rosenblatt's top three.
The meaning of regret:
This week, veteran reporter Bob Woodward claimed he was threatened by a White House staffer in an email stating Woodward would "regret" writing his next column. Certainly, officials shouldn’t threaten reporters, but a read of the email exchange
looks more like poor word choice than a legitimate threat. Assuming that's the case, what word could the White House official, economic aide Gene Sperling, have used in place of "regret"?
RELATED: The PR ramifications of the Woodward-White House dustup
It's vs. Its:
In “Eats, Shoots & Leaves,” Lynne Truss writes that it's vs. its “sets off a simple Pavlovian ‘kill’ response in the average stickler." My high school English teacher would give an F to any paper containing the incorrect use. Stan Carey writes in the excellent post about some of the popular publications that have used "it's" for "its," among them The Economist
, The New York Times, and Poetry Foundation
The scope of self:
Another common error—even among serious writers—is explored in this piece from The Economist
. The reflexive pronoun “myself” is often used when “me” or “I” is appropriate. The New York Times
is again an offender. The rule doesn't seem too difficult to remember, but considering how often “myself” is used in the office, pieces like this are most welcome.
The time between assignments:
If you're a freelancer, what are you thinking about between assignments? Novelist Dani Shapiro explores this on her blog, and maybe not surprisingly, finds relief from anxiety through writing. “It silences my demons by putting them to good use,” she writes.
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.