Don’t Write How You Speak

“Write how you speak.” The advice is well intentioned. It’s meant to ease the fears that stop smart people from putting their words on paper. (Everybody can talk, right?) It’s meant to correct the tendency some people have of writing in a style they were taught to use for 11th grade English assignments. The advice… Read more »

1,000 Words About Pictures

Do “people” really prefer visual Web content to text? Me, I’m an outlier. I find a long, dense block of text as tempting as a hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top. Still I’m inclined to believe there’s some truth to the common wisdom that a majority of people absorb and retain information better… Read more »

Notes on Fictional Point of View

First First-person central Can disclose opinion, internal workings Objective tone or personality-centered tone First-person minor Observes the actions of the central character Less subjective, objective witness Authenticity, drama, close-ups, immediacy, intimacy Second Addresses “you” – not common, often experimental Third Third-person limited Equal view on all characters, unidentified author who’s not in the action Tells… Read more »

Writing is a Process Not a Procedure

Here’s how I learned to compose a piece in high school: Write an outline Write a rough draft, beginning to end Write one or more additional complete drafts Edit Here’s how I actually write a piece: Write down some notes about the topic Start a draft Think about what I’m writing as I go about… Read more »

Writers: Rules of Thumb Are Meant to Be Broken

Over and over, I see content professionals mock the old English teacher’s rule of thumb about not using the same word twice on the same page. I want to scream at my screen: “You’re both WRONG!” Those teachers, I gather, explained this rule as a way to give “color” or “interest” to your writing. It… Read more »

Cutting the Clerical Handcuffs

Updating documents authored by others, I keep crashing into one of the worst aspects of Microsoft Word. That would be crashing — over code problems when pasting numbered lists, images, and text pulled from Web pages. So, Google Docs it is. Sometimes things don’t take, but they rarely crash the document and cause me to… Read more »