The English novelist and journalist George Orwell once asked, "Is there anyone who has ever written so much as a love letter in which he felt that he had said exactly what he intended?" It takes a master craftsman to recognise the limitations of his tools. As Orwell observed, "So soon as we are dealing with … Continue reading Six rules for writing
Here's a very interesting short history of the origins and development of English, which covers the beginnings of English with the arrival of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the 5th Century AD, right through to the influence of American English on the language we speak today.
Here’s a tip to engage all your readers - use words that tie in with your particular reader’s way of looking at the world. Ask yourself: Have your words painted the picture clearly enough for the visual reader? Are your pages set out attractively, with headings and subheadings to help guide both visual and tactile … Continue reading Appealing to all types of readers
To capitalise or not to capitalise? That is the question. In the sixteenth century, grammarians decided that capital letters should be used not only at the beginning of every sentence and for proper nouns and names (as done since Roman times), but also for other ‘important’ common nouns. By the late 1600s, some writers were … Continue reading A capital offence
Here's what Gerry McGovern says about "the twilight of print". When the tool changes, so too should the skill and the technique. More and more, hypertext is replacing text and the Web is replacing print. "I really don't know whether we'll be printing The Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care … Continue reading The Twilight of Print
Writing on Australia Day, it is an appropriate reminder that Plain English means avoiding slang terms that readers (particularly on the international forum of the Web) may not understand. This doesn't mean you can't marvel at the colourful colloquialisms human beings have created. Have a look at the Australian Slang Dictionary. I particularly like the … Continue reading Australian Slang Dictionary
Here's a fabulous and fun resource for anyone with Writer's Block. Dial a number for settings, characters or dialogue inspiration. Or get motivated with the words of great writers, such as Mark Twain who advised writers to just get on with it. "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started … Continue reading 911 writer’s block