Friday, August 18, 2006

The joy of a well-chosen description

This article I dug up from Elisabeth Dahl at EEI makes some good points about the delicate process of writing a good description. The thought process that goes into choosing the 'right' words for something is what I probably enjoy most about writing. Fitting it all together is what brings about that tremendous sense of satisfaction when a piece of writing is finished.

Elisabeth describes the process very well:

'Hand-picking words, turning them over carefully, uncovers the connotations behind their dictionary definitions. This work can't be done mechanically; it's labor intensive. But it offers generous rewards. It's a pleasure not to be missed.'

Monday, August 14, 2006

Be upfront

Annoyance time again. I received my weekly Proofreading newsletter in my inbox on Friday; one of the articles was about an errant comma in a contract which cost the company concerned $2.1 million! Sounded interesting so I went to read on, only to discover after a few clicks that I'd have to register with the Canadian online newspaper in which the story appeared. Frustrating.

Point being, if you're writing something with an end in mind, a purpose, a task, then be upfront about what your audience will need to do to achieve this. I probably wouldn't have bothered clicking any links at all if I'd known I would need to register before reading the story.

A simple - 'before you go and do this, be aware that...' or 'note, registration required' would suffice.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Some useful resources

Practice makes perfect they say. Occasionally I like to polish up on the many rules and nuances of the English language and I find these very useful for the odd 'remember what this rule is/what this type of word is called' situations:

Proofread Now's Grammar Tips archive
(Their newsletter is useful as well, is focused on American English)

Cambridge Dictionaries Online
My most visited site by quite a long way (Isn't all this supposed to be in my head?!)

Advanced English lessons
For those times when you just can't remember what a modal verb is or where to stick your interjections!