Episode 61: How to Write Spellbinding Sentences–Interview with Barbara Baig

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there, Word Nerds! Thanks for joining me for today’s episode. Today I’ll be interviewing Barbara Baig about how to write spellbinding sentences, based on her new book by that title.

This episode was so much fun to record because as soon as Barbara and I started chatting, I knew I had found a likeminded word lover and writing teacher. Her approach to writing as a practice and as a teachable skill goes hand in hand with the DIY MFA philosophy and her focus on sentence-level craft will compliment the more “big picture” techniques you learn here at DIY MFA.

I hope you get as much out of this conversation as I did, and if you want to learn more about how to use language in a way that moves and resonates with your readers, check out her books below or enter to win her latest book in a Goodreads giveaway. Now here’s that episode:

About Barbara Baig

Barbara is a writer and veteran writing teacher who is passionate about helping writers learn to use the English language with precision and power. Having created the popular Writing Workshops at Harvard Divinity School and taught them for two decades, she now teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University. She has published many articles about writing and an earlier book, How To Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play (Writer’s Digest, 2010). Her new book, Spellbinding Sentences is out now.

In this episode Barbara and I discuss:

  • Writing for your reader.
  • What it means to learn through practice as a writer.
  • Practicing writing to activate your imagination.
  • Writing as enticing the reader into a conversation.
  • How writing is a way of convincing your reader and how “craft enables you to articulate your vision so other people can see it the way you want them to.”

Plus, Barbara’s #1 tip for writers.


Tweet this.


If you want to know more about Barbara Baig, check out her website or follow her blog.

You can also check out her Goodreads page and enter to win a copy of Spellbinding Sentences here!

About Spellbinding Sentences

Spellbinding Sentences gives aspiring writers an innovative way to learn their skills—the same way professional athletes and musicians learn theirs: through deliberate practice. Sentences is the first writing instruction book based on current research in the field of expertise studies, where scientists have shown that expertise is not the result of innate talent, but of good coaching, dedication to practice, and imitation of models of excellence. Sentences shows aspiring writers, for the first time, how to use these methods to improve their ability to write powerful sentences that keep readers turning pages.

Spellbinding Sentences has been endorsed by Ursula K. Le Guin, Jane Brox, Edward Dolnick (New York Times best-selling author of The Rescue Artist), prize-winning British novelist Emma Darwin, Mark Bauerlein (author of The Dumbest Generation), and others.

Link to Episode 61

(Right-click to download.)

Want even more tools to help you master the craft?

Check out the DIY MFA online writing conference:

Writer Igniter Con 2015
October 24-25

Click the link to learn more or register.


If you liked this episode…

Head over to iTunes, leave a review, and subscribe so you’ll be first to know when new episodes are available. Also, if you know anyone who might enjoy this podcast, please share!

Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.


Enjoyed this article?