Tag Archives: Writing tips

Use plain language to be clear

Let’s be clear. Those “Terms and Conditions” we have to “accept” or “agree to” before using new software, phones and other technology are anything but clear. I blame lawyers, who stuff sentences with words to cover every possible situation. The sentences are wordy and repetitive. And the lawyers seem to think shouty all-caps lettering IS […]

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Cat’s and other apostrophe follies

A blog post suggests that organization’s forget about people. A menu lists stir fry’s. An email warns about using knock off’s rather than original iPhone parts. A gift shop sells a charming sign about Cat’s leaving paw prints on your heart. As Grammar Monster says, “Don’t add an apostrophe to a word just because the […]

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Where’s “Waldo”? Find the human in your stories

When my sons were growing up, books were a big part of our life. One memorable series was Where’s Waldo? by Martin Handford. The boys enjoyed scanning the detailed illustrations searching for that one specific individual, the bespectacled Waldo. Company employees are looking for “Waldo,” too. By that I mean any time you want to […]

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Flex your editing muscles to tighten flabby reports

Writing experts agree that you should write first, edit later. Ann Handley calls this embracing “the Ugly First Draft.” For Anne Lamott, it’s “the shitty first draft;” for Daphne Gray-Grant, “the crappy first draft.” But at some point you need to wrestle that first draft into shape. You have to revise and tweak and polish […]

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9 ways to ace your endings

So, you’ve crafted an interesting opening to your story, article, blog post or other writing. You’ve taken readers through the details and why the piece is important. Don’t let your writing screech to a halt as if you’ve hit a dead end sign. “From our earliest years, we learn that stories have endings, however predictable,” […]

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Find your focus in the nut graf

You’ve found a terrific opening to your story or article. Readers are interested and willing to keep reading to find out more. Where do you take them next? The “nut graf” almost always follows the lead (also called a lede) and explains the news value of the story. Poynter says it’s called the nut graf […]

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8 ways to reel in your reader

Novelists, journalists and corporate communicators have this in common: We all want readers to read our writing. An effective headline sets the stage, but how we open the story or article invites readers in, or sends them scurrying for the door. How do you start? Here are eight ways: 1. Find the most interesting point […]

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Your “About” page is the place to get personal

What are your passions? How long have you been in business and why did you start? If you have a business or personal website, sharing more about what makes you tick helps your visitors feel they know you, leading them to like and trust you. That’s why your “About” page is so important. If you’re […]

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Avoid confusion by keeping it simple

“What does eponymous mean?” I’m usually your go-to gal for the meaning of words, but this one stopped me. I knew I should be able to explain the meaning, but the question sent me to the dictionary. Good for you if you know “eponymous” is an adjective relating to the person/thing for whom/which something is […]

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More do’s and don’ts for captions that hook your reader

Words are my business, but I realize that a stunning photo or clever infographic can often make a point faster than plain text. The August issue of my monthly newsletter, Wordnerdery, shares tips for writing effective captions (also called cutlines) that hook readers and pull them into the story once the visual has caught their […]

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