Tag: writing

  • Learning storytelling from a Sitcom writer

    What is a story? How can you tell better stories? There is a wealth of knowledge and research into story telling, story structure and techniques for enhancing narrative. The classic text is¬†The Hero with a Thousand Faces¬†by¬†Joseph¬†Campbell, but this tome has been is criticised for being dense and academic. Syd Field‘s book Screenplay has influenced…

  • How to Internet: Publishing

    As you get better at the internet, you’ll likely start to feel a desire to share something with the world. Thankfully, the internet is awash with technologies that make that easy and painless. Outside of Facebook, the can-be-used-for publishing platform that most civilians are likely to have heard about is Twitter, which hardly qualifies as…

  • Robert Gottlieb on the Art of Editing

    The author-editor relationship is an intimate one, and Robert Gottlieb, editor of¬†many well-loved books and of The New Yorker for five years, knows this more than most. One of the best insights into this relationship comes courtesy of an interview with Gottlieb in¬†The Paris Review¬†where the ‘questions’ are actually anecdotes provided by some of the…

  • Writing Tools, Not Rules, for Better Writing

    “Tools not rules” are what’s needed to teach good writing, says The Poynter Institute’s vice president Roy Peter Clark in Writing Tools — his acclaimed book compiling fifty of his favourites. To accompany this book, Clark released his fifty writing tools to improve your writing on his blog, and here are some of my favourites:…

  • Writing Tips from Annual Reports

    Proving that good writing can be found anywhere, writer Nancy Friedman points to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett’s annual reports as examples of excellent copywriting. I cannot but agree. Friedman submits that we can learn to write better copy by studying Warren Buffett’s annual reports, offering these six tips, highlighted after studying his annuals: Tell…

  • Comedic Writing Tips‚Ķ Again

    The use of inherently funny topics and words, at least one person, a little exaggeration and a touch of curiosity and danger: these are just some of the essential ingredients¬†for successful humourous writing, says¬†Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. In an essay very similar to a post¬†he wrote almost¬†four years ago (previously), Adams tells us an…

  • The Scientific Journalism Formula

    In a near-perfect parody of¬†science¬†reporting in¬†the popular press, Martin Robbins,¬†The Lay Scientist, created “a news website article about a scientific paper“. In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding? [‚Ķ] This…

  • Science Journalism’s Manifesto for the Simple Scribe

    “To make somebody read it”. That is the only reason for writing, according to the renowned Guardian editor Tim Radford, author of the “manifesto for the simple scribe”. This manifesto, previously distributed to editors at Elsevier and Nature, consists¬†of twenty-five writing tips that collectively tell a science writer all they need to know to write…

  • Login Is Not a Verb

    We do not signup, login or checkout when we buy¬†products online. We do not startup, shutdown or backup our computers.¬†The reason: these words, primarily used in computing contexts, are not verbs. These are just some of the “bad bad verbs” featured on a site dedicated to¬†“informing people about words that are not verbs, even though…

  • Avoid Boring Writing: Tips (to Avoid) from Scientific Articles

    Most scientific papers consist of “predictable, stilted structure and language”, leading to consistently boring journal articles. Kaj Sand-Jensen, writing in the ecology journal Oikos, decided to investigate this problem and concluded his research by providing a set of recommendations for how to write consistently boring scientific articles (pdf): Avoid focus Avoid originality and personality Write…