Currently Browsing: Writing

WRITING: INTERVIEWING & JOURNALISM September 7, 2017

WRITING:  INTERVIEWING & JOURNALISM                         September 7, 2017 An editor or a writer should maintain a consistent tense when writing a person’s quotes/comments—EITHER all present tense (Jones says) OR all past tense (Jones said). An alternate word choice for “says” and “said” is okay occasionally, such as the following: Jones explains that businesses . . .; In addition, Jones believes that . . . ; He adds that when . . . Also, not all statements by an interviewee have to be within quotation marks.  Traditional journalistic writing alternates between quoting (“Telecommunications and office furniture all have to work in harmony today,” says Jones, “or businesses are just throwing their money away.”) and reporting (Jones explains that businesses often buy chairs and aren’t taught how to adjust them for ergonomic comfort.). Decide which tense and quotation method will work best for you in each situation of your interviewing and writing, remember “Just the facts, ma’am” (no editorializing or dirty journalism!), and delight readers with your story.  You can do it!   Many lessons and bits of advice in this writing/grammar series have been taken from Writestyle’s online campus....

WRITING: TO SPLIT OR TO FIX? August 29, 2017

WRITING:  TO SPLIT OR TO FIX?                                   August 29, 2017 Having house guests for two weeks was fun, but I got behind in my work and then I was sick last week.  Thank you for returning for more writing and grammar info!   Sometimes writing is very easy, and the sentences flow readily from our minds through our fingers onto the page.  At others, though, some phrases/sentences become like tongue twisters and don’t seem to come out right, no matter what we do.  Trying to force writing and rhyme can cause discomfort and dissonance for both writers and readers.  What to do?   The Problem When you’re experiencing too much difficulty and/or confusion in writing or editing a sentence, step back, slow down, and read it out loud.  Was it uncomfortable for you to say and hear?  If so, look at/listen to the parts, and figure out what and where the problems are.  Is logic/clarity the only problematic issue?  Does it sound clunky and odd, without a smooth flow?  Can you easily move or delete a word or two in order to achieve logic and a comfortable flow?  If not . . .   The Solution Consider reconstructing/rewriting the sentence or splitting it into two or three sentences, depending on its length.  Also, think about whether text would be clearer, easier to read and hear, and overall more effective if portions are relocated/switched.  You can even try both possibilities.  Think at the sixth-grade level (newspaper writing/broadcast news) instead of doctorate level.  Can you also get rid of any unnecessary or interfering words?  If you really get stuck, ask someone for help.  Then, reread to make sure that the flow of thought and logic have survived.  Will it make sense to your readers and be easy for them to read/say?  If so, you’re good to go. Don’t let a lack of flow and logic trip up or halt your writing, or even take half an hour to resolve.  Getting upset and sending the piece out in problematic form won’t help, either.  It should be easy enough to resolve; be objective and give it a reasonable second chance.  Always go with what’s best for your readers.   Many lessons and bits of advice in this writing/grammar series have been taken from Writestyle’s online campus.  Like this blog and find it helpful?  Watch your inbox for more!    ...

WRITING: Got Writer’s Block? Pursuing Perfection? August 7, 2017

WRITING:  Got Writer’s Block? Pursuing Perfection?           August 7, 2017 Got writer’s block? Pursuing perfection?  Let’s get you out of those, pronto. Resolving the first can also relieve the second. Writer’s Block:  Ever heard of free writing and webbing? Free writing:  In the pre-writing phase, set a timer for, say, 20 or 30 minutes.  Write whatever and everything that comes to mind, whether to generate ideas or to create on a topic. Don’t pause/stop to read, consider, or edit for spelling, grammar, word choice, or anything else.  Just write!  When the timer goes off, read what you have and you’ll be amazed to see how many ideas came out and what they are leading to. Webbing: For the lack of another explanation, webbing is a method of visually connecting ideas and subject-related words in a written web toward the writing goal.  The writer can branch out and connect further as needed.  Using this fast, concise method, the writer can stay on course to see and keep track of possibilities. Creating in these ways, timed or not, also can help to curb your tendency to be a perfectionist. Read on. Pursuing Perfection Because I’m also an editor who wants everything created by me or by others to be as good as possible, I really had to work on putting my perfectionism to the side during the creative process. Pursuing perfection is okay to a point but becomes unreasonable; we have to cut ourselves some slack. Just create—get those ideas out where you can see them—so that nothing will get in the way and make you forget some of the great phrases that you really want to use. Then, reread and tweak where necessary. Remember: Rereading, reconsidering, and tweaking can also produce new ideas; so, get those new ideas down quickly, too. Once you have a rough draft you can reread, reconsider, and revise. You can do...

WRITING: AS CLEAR AS A BELL, AS WELL July 20, 2017

WRITING:  AS CLEAR AS A BELL, AS WELL                                         July 20, 2017 Hello, fans of writing and grammar! Welcome back! A couple of weeks ago, I said that in recent years “as” has often been used incorrectly in writing with or without punctuation, as the case may be, to indicate an addition or a comparison and that we would cover those issues regarding “as” very soon. Let’s gain a better understanding of how to use “as” and whether (and how) to punctuate around it. To that end, examples and brief explanations follow.  (Yes, we’ve actually seen such examples of incorrect usage and much more!)   Comparison:  Comma NOT needed with “as well.” Wrong:  You sing as well, as he does.  You sing, as well as, he does.  You sing, as well as he does. Correct:  You sing as well as he does.  [He sings well. So do you.] See why no comma is needed in that correct usage?   Addition (Like “too,” “also,” “In addition”/”Additionally”):  Comma IS needed with “as well.” Wrong:  The judge could award joint custody as well. Correct: (a)  The judge could award joint custody, as well.  [The judge could award joint custody, too.  The judge could award joint custody, also.  The judge also could award joint custody.] (b)  As well, the judge could award joint custody.  [This form is less common.] [Also, the judge could award joint custody.] See why the comma is needed in the correct usage of an addition? See the difference? It’s really very easy to do: A comparison needs no comma while an addition does need a comma. You just need to get used to it. The old adage still applies: Practice makes perfect. If you forget correct usage and applicable punctuation for “as well,” just rephrase to use “too” or “also” (most often). When writing, please pause for a minute to read, think whether what you’re doing makes sense, and then correct your copy. As we always say, “Accuracy = Credibility!” Many lessons and bits of advice in this writing/grammar series have been taken from Writestyle’s online campus. We have a seemingly endless list of grammar topics to discuss, so stay tuned for more next week and beyond....

WRITING: EDITING FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

WRITING:  EDITING FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS                        July 14, 2017   Editing goes hand in hand with writing and speaking. It is NOT only about using the text that you see–recommending corrections, improvements, rephrasings, completions, clarifications, better word choices, etc. It’s also about reading between the lines for what may be there that should not be and for what is not there that should be.   SUBTLETIES As a part of that, reading the text aloud can reveal subtle or not-so-subtle tones and nuances that may have sneaked their way into your writing and need to be fixed. A tone may need to be lessened, for example, from bossy or nasty to one of requesting or encouraging. Specifics may help, too. Example: From:  I need that letter on my desk by 3 p.m. To:  Please give your proposed letter to me by 2:30 so that I can review it and have a final copy ready for our department’s 4 p.m. meeting. That way, the boss will be happy with both of us.   Or, a tone may need to be strengthened from wimpy to nicely firm.  Example: From: If it isn’t too much trouble, do you think you might be able to move your car from the end of the driveway pretty soon? To:  Would you please move your car in fifteen minutes? It’s blocking the rest of us in the driveway, and I have to be at the doctor’s office in an hour. Thank you.   Negative connotations, outright insults, and any other text that detracts should be stricken from any generic writing or discussion.   HONEY + WIIF THEM? Have you considered all options, and have you honestly tried to do so objectively? Don’t be too hasty. The old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” can be helpful in practice. When you need readers or listeners to see your side of a problem and to do their best for you, you really should cover your assets and prove why they should help you. Also, you should end your letter or conversation with a pleasantly direct request that asks for exactly what you need and, if applicable, requests or suggests that the issue be resolved by a certain date or time. Show what’s in it for them and for you, and keep your writing thorough but brief. Along the way, correct punctuation can clarify intent and meaning. Keep doing your best in writing/editing and speaking, always with your readers or listeners in mind.   LIKE...

« Previous Entries Next Entries »

© 2015 Writestyle. All Rights Reserved.