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I dissect the creative process so you can transform your first draft into your best writing. Last year I gave feedback on over 500 essays through Write of Passage. I create diagrams overlaid on your essay to help you see patterns in your structure and voice. In a quantity-obsessed culture, quality writing is a superpower.

🎷 What's in a Kerouac sentence?

Jack Kerouac was a famous writer from 1950's, but he referred to his own practice as "sketching." Like a painter, he'd look around slowly to soak in and reflect on the details. As images and memories bubbled up, he'd scribble them into flowery, never-ending sentences. When Kerouac writes, it feels

🔎 Wallacisms: The Art of Writing Memorable Observations

"Big Red Son," is an outrageous David Foster Wallace essay about a 1998 adult film conference. By dissecting it, we'll learn some (non-vulgar) tricks to help our writing jump through the page. Use relatable metaphors. Make unlikely associations. Look behind the scenes.

🧠 The Feedback Gym Hivemind

Every week day, we host a WOP "Feedback Gym." After 1:1 breakout sessions, we come back and share insights on writing and editing.

🖼 Breeding Orphan Words

I want writing that is visual without images or diagrams. Instead, imagery can be laced into prose. How do you do it? Paint from the mind's eye.

🔨 The Chisel or the Sledgehammer?

So you've just completed your first draft. Time to edit. You know your piece could be so much better. But how? The sentences look frozen, nearly impossible to change. Each one whispers, "Please go easy on me!" You have an arsenal of tools ****available in your editing shed. A full

🐾 Searching for Sasquatch

Finding the main point of your essay often feels like searching for a mythological beast in the woods. When we start hunting, the process is long, winding, and stressful. But maybe it doesn't have to be. There are too many parallels between writing essays and chasing Sasquatches. We're overdue for

🔟 Ten Takeaways from The Writing Studio 3

LoopingBefore we start an idea, we don't know the boundaries of our scope. By looping through brainstorms, throw-away outlines, and short free-writing exercises, we can cover a lot of ground. By quickly discovering dead-ends, we save ourselves time from drafting the wrong ideas. Sometimes a single bullet from a brainstorm

🎨 Color-coded CRIBS

What if you could look at your draft and instantly understand how a reader felt about it? Imagine being able to scan your document and get a real-time sense of how each sentence is performing. What if you could see where the pain points and dopamine hits were hidden? Here's

🅰️ Setence Blocks

After completing a few Writing Studios this summer, I've had several students suggest the same thing to me. It was unexpected. Basically, I was breaking down the writing process in such a granular way, they told me that I should develop an AI-powered text editor that has my theories embedded

🔦 Run-ons & Spotlights

Virginia Woolf knocked out sentences that could stand alone as their own atomic essays. Upwards of 200 words, the sights, and sounds, and things she heard, they burst out from her mind, in between commas and semi-colons, giving you the chance to vacation in her daydreams. Woolf would "sketch" scenes,

🏔 The Center of Mount Shasta

It's been a long time since I've read fiction and poetry. It's showing me dimensions of writing that I missed during my non-fiction binge. It's where my curiosity lies, and it's beyond the edge of my ability. I want to pursue these sides of writing more intentionally, so I'm starting

🥩 Hunter's Breakfast Myth

Last weekend my wife and I found ourselves staying at a bed and breakfast on Greenwood Lake. When she told me she loved breakfast, I told her "no, THIS guy loves breakfast." I pulled up the radical Hunter S. Thompson quote and read it to her as we waited for