When I was pregnant with my first child I was enamored of the idea of using a midwife. I hired a seasoned professional named Lorna. But my son was breech and arrived via a scheduled C-section, so Lorna was replaced by an anesthesiologist, a surgeon, and a floating sea of faceless, masked nurses. I was disappointed that our preparations had been for nothing. Until I awoke one morning, groggy from morphine, to hear her arguing in the hallway with the pediatrician. She was refusing to let him give my son a shot that we hadn’t discussed.
Terminal prepositions. Are they acceptable, or is the “rule” against ending a sentence with a preposition outdated? A Merriam-Webster editor clears up the confusion.
Write about what’s really happening with you, not the polished version of what you wish were the truth. How do you know what that is?
Story is everything! Begin your blog, article, newsletter, whatever you’re writing, with a personal story. Watch this short video to find out why.
In my last class on “Crafting an Inspirational Blog” I asked how many of the participants read their writing out loud as part of the editing process.
The answer? None.
Am I the only one who stands at the head of my dining room table and delivers my prose to an imaginary crowd of fans? I’m kidding– I don’t do that. But I do read a finished piece aloud before I send it into the world and you should too.
Words to avoid in your writing:
SO: used as an intensifier, “so” can often have the opposite effect, making your adjectives less punchy. So, don’t strive to be so clever. Just be clever.
VERY: should be used very, very sparingly. In fact, see if you can give it the week off in your writing. It’s very tired of holding up words that are strong enough to support themselves.
It was a summer day in 1977; I was watching “Days of Our Lives” with my mom while she folded laundry. The announcer broke in. “Elvis is dead,” he said, and my mom cried. I was too young to follow politics, and two years later, I would barely register the upheaval in Iran, but in my world, Elvis Presley reigned supreme. So I cried too.
This week I went to a Meet-up event for writers– something that’s been on my to-do list for ages. There were seven of us at the Village Tap in Roscoe Village. We sat on the back patio with a noisy crowd of Cub fans. Above us a section of the cloth roof was rolled back like the lid of a sardine can, showing us a sliver of sky. We took turns posing questions to one another and shouting our answers down the length of the picnic table.
This week’s writing tip comes in the form of a quiz! I memorized the following group of words as a chant in 7th grade English class (thank you Ms. Merkel) and they’ve stuck in my head ever since. What is this group of words called, and what is their job?
Use definite, specific, concrete language!
The surest way to arouse and hold the reader’s attention is by being specific. The greatest writers–Homer, Dante, Shakespeare–are effective largely because they deal in particulars and report the details that matter. Their words call up pictures.