Editing for the Conscientious Writer

August 30, 2012

Season Opener

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 4:14 pm

See if this is working, everyone, and feel free to comment …



November 29, 2011

Two More to Go

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 12:44 pm

Here’s our agenda for Thursday, the second-to-the-last class of the semester:

We need to do in-class evaluations. You can do them online, but I also need to provide time to do it in class. Be honest and candid. One of my colleagues says she always would bring a lot of food into class the day of the evals. I’m going to try to resist that cheap and commercial ploy. We’ve already done that, often. Seriously, take some time on these. They’re important, from an institutional veiwpoint as well as giving me feedback — good and bad — so I can do some good in here.

I need to give you a style quiz, the third one of the year, because I need to know if you are getting this important part of the course. It’s an open-book exam, so bring your AP Stylebooks. There will be a few non-style questions on there, because I want to give you some written summaries of important points of the class.

I am also going to tell you about how this office at Crofts is looking for an intern. It’s probably credit, but there is a chance it could pay some. We’ll talk more.

I also want to hear from Erin about her experience after her landmark article in the Spectrum. She wrote what I’m talking about, a story that changes the people who read it as well as the writer. Great to know it still happens.

And I have to have you hand in another version of your Writing Tips before the end of the year. I want you to have something written that provides a record of these pointers. Especially ones you come up with yourself.

And we’re going to do our week on New Journalism with the time we have left, because I think it’s important. There are tricks and principles that are relevant.

And I am still seeing students about their midterm papers, giving feedback for the final article. I’m saying again, I want to see all of you and trying to make myself available in preparation for your final article.

–Charles Anzalone

November 21, 2011

Our First ENG 399 Literary Celebrity

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 12:25 pm

See all the amazing things people are saying about Our Erin Maynard, who had the guts, heart and the literary chops to write about this almost unspeakable tragedy that occurred in her life. 


I think you can get on this site with this link and read some of the comments. If not, take my word that people here in my office were blown away by it. 



Almost unspeakable, yes. But she found the courage to express it in written form. If I still had a Sunday magazine to edit, I would have put it on the cover. See the power of the written word? Even, and sometimes especially, when the topic is so, so emotional and tragic.


   Key parts for me, but there are others;

 “I found a great therapist and enrolled at UB to study English and anthropology. I’m a junior now, and I’m determined not to let this accident define me.

  “I’m also determined not to let this all have been for nothing. A friend asked why I would tell such a personal story in such a public way.

   “If even one reader is more cautious as driver or pedestrian, then sharing has been worthwhile. Preventing another tragedy is worth the discomfort I’ve experienced with what I have chosen to write.

    “There is another reason. It is not often you get the chance to publically apologize. I was not a nice person after the accident; I hurt a lot of my friends and family. They did not deserve it and there are no excuses. I am sorry.

     “I will never be that innocent girl driving on that sunny November day. But I can choose who I become.”



Isn’t this a talent you would like to have in your lives, no matter what path you take? To express such thoughts and to be able to use writing as a catharsis?

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend. And be sure and check in here Monday, Nov. 28, to see what readings are due for the following class.

–Charles Anzalone




November 15, 2011

The Clubhouse Turn

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 11:17 am

OK, if we have only three more classes, we are going to make them count.

The problem is I forgot I had to go to my old alma mater at Syracuse for the day. Wednesday. I am taking all papers with me, but it also means the Wednesday I had hoped to meet with you is not going to work. Unless you drive to Syracuse.

I am sorry about that, but like the Buffalo Sabres — and I hope the Bills — we will recover.

So. I need to meet with a many of you as I can before you start your final project. We’ve done several of them so far, and believe me, this is getting your bloated tuition’s worth, because I can go over this with you and we can talk about the changes. But it presents certain logistic problems.

Again, I am around all today, and will be around Wednesday night, on campus, if anyone wants to meet me then. I’ll be here at 7:30 p.m. Also, I will be at work Thursday, and on duty before and after class. So you have to come and get some sitdown time with me, and again, preferably with your editor.

The readings for this Thursday’s Week XII are in Clemens Room 306 in my mailbox. You gotta read this before class because there are things about humor writing we’re going to talk about that this article shows well. And you’re not going to get any laughs out of this class if you don’t do some homework.

And if I recall, it’s having two ideas, trying to get your conference with me, reading this blog and picking up the readings, either when you see me or in Clemens.

And that’s right: If you don’t do this work you will not laugh this Thursday.

– Charles Anzalone

November 9, 2011

Nov. 10, 2011: A Plan for the Runway

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 4:56 pm

So we’re rounding a curve here, waiting for the reviews of the midterm to see where we all are, Page 88-wise. I’ll do my best to get as many stories as I can back to you, but we might have to extend this into next week. I still remain hopeful a lot of you will try to set up some one-on-one meeting with me. Best case scenario: You bring your editor.

While we wait for that, we’re going to listen and try to make a writing connection with Charlotte Hsu, the talented young writer at UB’s Office of Communications, who knows what it’s like to be a journalist in today’s brave new communications world. So please, please read these articles and have some good questions she can play off. She’s got something. She’s a storyteller. You’ll find her shy and self-effacing. Don’t be fooled. It’s clear when she writes. There is something going on. I’m going to try to learn something from her.

And also, please, bring “The Complete Editor” textbook because there are some important parts of it we need to go over.

Thanks. Bring drinks, too. I should have something to eat for most of you.
Ciao, baby.

— Charles Anzalone

This one:

and either this one:

Or this one:

October 27, 2011

The Halloween Edition: Costumes Optional

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 9:53 am

Hi there. A few words about tonight:
I’m giving everyone another week to finish his or her midterm articles, but they all have to be done by next Thursday. For sure.
Tonight, we are going to go over two articles written by an effective writing/editing team that proves what we are talking about is not that difficult. The basics are within anyone’s grasp, providing you make the effort, and the bells and whistles of this Page 88 structrure are certainly possible.
We’re also going to be going over this idea of “finding the poetry,” using song lyrics to link us into this pattern.
So bring your song lyrics and the one-page explanation of why they work for you. And if we can get the YouTube connection going, we can play the song during class. I’m playing mine.
We’re also going to discuss the Scott Norwood story, so please, please have that read and have some good comments and insights to contribute. Everything is going fine in the class, except we’re not having good class discussions. And we all need this.
We’re also having some refreshments, incuding pumpkin candy corn, and maybe something else, providing I have time to get something going.
If anyone wants to wear a costume, that’s fine with me. I’ll be wearing a mask. That’s how you’ll recognize me.

See you tonight.

October 14, 2011

News Flash on the Midterm Article

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 3:38 pm

I think it says on the syllabus your midterm article is due next week. I’m keeping some flexibility in the schedule, depending on how the class goes. So the second article is NOT due next week. You should definitely get a start on it, and that’s why I wanted you all to have approved story ideas. But I want you all to have a good handle on what you can do better after taking a close look at your first article before you finish the second one. We’ll come up with a deadline for the midtern soon. And read those two articles, OK? That’s what I want to do next Thursday. Read inspiring stories.

October 11, 2011

Week Seven (not a bye week)

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 10:48 am

Your Quizzes (did I spell that correctly?) are in the Anzalone mailbox in Clemens 306. The usual place. Or I can hand them back Thursday. Bring them because we’re going over the questions then.
How are the stories coming? And I am totally serious about flipping out if you don’t have that Chile story read by class time. It’s just too good to ignore. Who is up for reading?

I’ll try to get to as many papers as I can and get some comments down. I might have to resort to some out-of-classroom conferences.

And we’re having lasagna, right? I’d feel a whole lot better doing it if i get some evidence you are reading this.

Bring a drink and napkins. And don’t wear white.

–Charles Anzalone

October 4, 2011

OK, This Is the Real Post

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 3:07 pm

I do like the fact several of you saw this in-process post and immediately jumped on it, finding the errors. In my defense of giving out one-dollar bills, I just want to say I wasn’t done. I had to leave mid-post, so if I spelled it “thursady,” it was before I had a chance to read what I wrote out loud.

So we start again:

Before we review what we’re looking to do this Thursday, check out this article. It’s wrtten by Charity Vogel, who has taught here and been advisor of the Spectrum for many semesters. It absolutely gets the idea of the anecdote across. And it’s also an illustration of what our own Rugare wrote this week in an email. She said she was planning to take a tour of the City Mission for her story to “get a visual image of the place and get a real feel for how theese people feel and live.”

Amen, Rugare. This is what I’m looking for. I want you to give us all an experience of living through your writing, getting us into the picture (remember that stupid, long story of “The Twilight Zone” episode?) and letting us feel what your characters are feeling, And a good way to do that is through the anecdote, giving the story depth.

So check this out. See how she used an anecdote as the lead?


We’ll talk more tomorrow about this anecdote thing, which is crucial. And I also want to show you one of the greatest nutgraphs I have ever seen.

We also need to go over the AP Style quiz quickly, hand in your Silly But Effective Writing Tips and then discuss the Anthony Bourdain story (we might read this one, again, a la Rachel). This is the kind of psychoanalysis of the course, where we try to conjure up the spirits of good writers to inspire us.

And we’ll also try to talk about interviewing.

I don’t think I can get any good food going this week. Does anyone want to bring anything? I’ll make lasagna next week if I can have this week off.

And also, if you see a folder you want to use more than the one you have (I still haven’t found any of the unicorn folders I’m really looking for), you should buy it. Then I’ll reimburse you the cost. I want you to have a ENG 399 handout folder you like.

See you tomorrow.

There still is one more style mistake in that sentence that begins “It’s written by Charity Vogel … ” A dollar goes to the first one who finds it.


–Charles Anzalone

September 28, 2011

Restaurant Week for ENG 399

Filed under: Uncategorized — anzalon @ 8:43 am

The “ugly cookies that no one likes,” as my daughter calls them, seem to be gathering support. Should we have those again? Or is it too soon and we should try for something else? I’d like to hear from more of you. And can you get to Clemens 306 for that “Beneath the Cloud” article before Thursday night? Hmmm?

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