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March 15, 2010

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Great post, Michael, and interesting comments about Angier's style. I have not read her book so I cannot comment on how she writes, but I agree that striking a balance between interesting prose and straightforward explanations can be difficult. I encountered this when my proposal was being shopped around to publishers. Some publishers said my style was too sensational while others complained that it was too lofty for lay readers.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but as I have worked on 'Written in Stone' I have tried to remind myself that my goal is to tell a story (or one big story composed of smaller, interwoven tales). This usually helps me avoid becoming too technical or too lofty with my writing, and it certainly helps that I am often writing about people and not big, impressive scientific ideas in the abstract (in which case it is easy to run away with convoluted prose that tries to invoke the majesty of the universe).

It's probably not the quote you were looking for, but it's of the same flavor.

"When I want to read a good novel, I write one" -- Benjamin Disraeli

That's a great quote, John, and not one I knew - thanks for providing it!

Nice post. The "Writer's Market" is the US equivalent to the "The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook" in the UK.

Hi there, I can't find your first name in your post so I'm sorry I can't address you by name! Thanks for a really well-written post. I am considering embarking on a popular science book - about geology, as it happens - and I learned lots of valuable things from your post. I happen to be a graphic novelist as well as hold an MSc in geology and it's a book I've been considering for years...but I guess it's going to be a really long road, if I do decide to throw my hat into the ring. But first and foremost, I think I am in for a huge amount of fun, and I'm learning from your post that this is just as well, as it may be the only thing that comes from it...So thank you!

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