On writing: What illuminates a story?

Don't be afraid to have the very experiences you aspire to write about — they will help you write more vividly, and from a genuine place of wonder.

  • When it comes to writing a story, it's important to find a way to have an experience that will illuminate the narrative for readers — that is, an experience that fills you, the writer, with wonder and gives you a fresh take on things.
  • A good way to make a nonfiction story rich is by tackling the subject with different lenses, by circling it from different points of views.
  • Good storytelling is about taking readers on a journey. This said, instead of leading with your conclusion, begin from the time when you were naive about the subject at hand, and, as you relay the different things you learn, you will help your readers, in a down-to-earth way, move toward knowing more, too.
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Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Toni Morrison, dies at 88

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." — Toni Morrison


Todd Plitt / Contributor
  • Morrison was the first African American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • Over her nearly five-decade career, Morrison wrote 11 novels, a libretto and collections of nonfiction, and also worked as an editor who wanted to participate in developing a "canon of black work."
  • Morrison's family wrote that they were grateful she had a "long, well lived life."
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Writing a will: What to leave behind after you die

It may be an uncomfortable thing to do, but creating a will can save your loved ones a lot of headaches after you're gone.

  • A will is not a simple, one-piece-of-paper kind of document. There are many different kinds of wills: There's a will to handle your things. There's a will to handle your body. And there are wills to handle your legacy.
  • If you don't prepare a will, and if you don't set up a trust, and if you don't arrange your advance directives, then you, and your loved ones, fall into these default legal mechanisms that aren't necessarily always commonsensical.
  • In ethical wills, which are gaining popularity today, deceased individuals pass along tips of wisdom or things they've learned to those who survive them — this is an opportunity for them to pass along the narrative of how they say life, what they thought of themselves and others, and what they hope for their loved ones.
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The secret to Mark Twain's friendship with Nikola Tesla

Twain and Tesla had similar passions and an amusing friendship.

  • Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Nikola Tesla shared a friendship starting in 1890s.
  • Tesla read a lot of early Twain when recovering from a serious illness.
  • The two shared an interest in electricity.
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Jordan Peterson's 10-step process for stronger writing

Though written for his students, the lessons can be applied by any essay writer.

Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson poses during a photo shoot in Sydney, New South Wales. (Photo by Hollie Adams / Newspix / Getty Images)
  • The best way to improve your thinking is to learn how to write, says Jordan Peterson.
  • His 10-step process for writing an essay is time consuming, but the benefits are worth it.
  • From the granular to the macro, every facet of writing a solid essay is covered in his template.
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