Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Five websites for student-writers

Or four websites and the mysterious Alt+F4.

1. The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing Michael Harvey's site is perhaps the single most useful on-line resource for students who want to improve their writing. For Harvey, good writing is not reducible to zealous obedience to a handful of rules. Good writing is a matter of clarity, concision, and grace, key elements of what Harvey calls "the plain style." His sample passages and suggested revisions will benefit any writer who gives them careful attention. The book "version" of this site, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing (Hackett), is the best book for student-writers I know, far more useful than Eats, Shoots & Leaves and similar titles.

2. A Demonstration of the Futility of Using Microsoft Word's Spelling and Grammar Check Sandeep Krishnamurthy's conclusion is that Word's spelling and grammar checker is "extraordinarily bad." See for yourself by downloading and checking one of the sample .doc files, and then resolve never to let Word do your editing and proofreading for you.

3. The Citation Machine The Landmark Project's Citation Machine creates APA- and MLA-style citations for print and on-line materials. You need to be careful of course in choosing the right kind of citation and in entering the relevant information in the right places.

4. Arts & Letters Daily Any writer needs good models, and they are not likely to be found in textbooks. Arts & Letters Daily, a service of The Chronicle of Higher Education, offers a handful of links a day to worthwhile articles, essays, and reviews.

5. Alt+F4 Just a reminder — when you're writing, eliminate distractions. Close your browser and IM, and give the task at hand your full attention.

comments: 2

Dr. Lisa said...

Here is a link directly to your bit on LifeHack.

Awesome, thanks!

Michael Leddy said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks! The direct link was in there, but kinda invisible at the bottom of the post. I tried blockquoting to make the link more spottable. (Does it work?)