The Red Jacket Diaries blog

Sue Horner is a freelance writer in Oakville, Ontario, who blogs about writing, newsletters, communications and running an independent business in The Red Jacket Diaries blog.

Good dog! 7 tips that apply to pets and people

I’ve been walking my neighbour’s two dogs at lunchtime, to cover while his daughter is away. Logan and Norman are relatively big black dogs, like my guy was, and they were good pals with him. So while I’m helping my neighbour out, I’m also getting a little “dose of dog” to ease the pain of […]

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3 ways to spark interest with expressive writing

Have you ever been urged to “show, don’t tell” in your writing? Then you want to think about expressive writing. For a compelling example of the power of language, take a look at this fascinating piece about earthquakes by journalist Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker. This is just one of many, many places where […]

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Find the heart of your story with these questions

What I write for employee newsletters and other content often involves explaining dense, complicated and potentially boring subjects. Yet a client once paid me this huge compliment: that among my strengths is the “ability to find the human angle in any story.” In fact, that’s the secret to turning a potentially boring subject into an […]

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Show some love for neglected expressive words

What knavery is this? With so many words at our disposal, we’re ditching some perfectly delightful and expressive words. Wayne State University, for one, is having none of it. Each year, the university’s Word Warriors column lists the top 10 words “that deserve to be used more often in conversation and prose,” drawing attention to […]

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Another odd book title wins cheeky contest

At a time when attention spans are shorter than ever, a long-running quirky contest fits right in. Yes, I’m talking about The Bookseller’s Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title. “We don’t judge books on the contents within or even by their covers, but by their purest, quickest and shallowest way possible: from the title,” says […]

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7 deadly sins of e-newsletters

If you’ve ever given someone your business card at a networking event and later discovered you’d been signed up for a daily newsletter, you’ve seen the dark side of email newsletters. Good email newsletters share information of value to the reader. They are invited into the inbox. This type of content marketing – “the art […]

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How to take the leap to the independent life

A young PR professional with about a year of corporate experience under her belt approached me recently to talk about how to develop her career. After our conversation, she said she was inspired “to take tangible steps toward strengthening my visibility and skills for a potential freelance communications career.” Here is some of what we […]

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Ditch the fragments, and other caption DOs and DON’Ts

A photo caption’s job isn’t to tell the whole story all by itself. Ideally, the photo captures attention; the caption adds meaning and leads the reader to the story for more details. Of course, there are plenty of rules about captions (also called cutlines). A discussion this week with a fellow stickler for detail brought […]

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Grammar nerds, this day’s for you

It’s National Grammar Day! I know, exciting, isn’t it? The big day goes back to 2008, when Martha Brockenbrough and the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) founded it. SPOGG is “for people appalled by bad grammar in public spaces.” Yup, that’s me. One of my pet peeves is the mishandling of apostrophes. […]

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New Scrabble words? Don’t tell Mom

You watch; my mother will probably get “bezzy” on a triple in one of our usual spirited Words with Friends games. So don’t tell her about the words that Scrabble now officially accepts, including: Augh: An interjection expressing frustration (shades of Charlie Brown!) Bezzy: Best friend Cazh: Casual Eew: Exclamation of disgust Emoji: Digital icons […]

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