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Michelle Nijhuis’ award-winning reporting on science and the environment appears in National Geographic, Smithsonian, and many other publications. A longtime contributing editor of High Country News, she lives off the grid with her husband and daughter in rural western Colorado. She and Thomas Hayden are the co-editors of The Science Writers' Handbook.

One response to “Bookshelf: Several short sentences about writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg”

  1. Jill U Adams

    I met Klinkenborg at a nature writing conference at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. I was inclined to like him as he sat with the participants rather than shield himself by sticking with the other invited speakers. Plus, he told great stories about behind the scenes decision-making at the New York Times.

    His session came on one of the last days. We sat in a circle, maybe twenty of us, and he talked about writing one sentence at a time. Write one sentence. Think about all the directions in which it may lead. Then and only then, write the next sentence. Rinse, repeat.

    This surprised me completely, as I am a big fan of filler sentences when I’m stuck. I’ve been puzzling about this for years. When I saw his book, I knew I was ready for more.

    And the book gave me so much more: Klinkenborg assured me to trust myself, to notice what I notice, to write about such things with authority. “The most subversive thing you can do is to write clearly and directly, asserting the facts as you understand them, your perceptions as you’ve gathered them.”

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