Writing Tips

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ninian
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Writing Tips

Post by ninian » Mon May 22, 2006 8:02 am

Why is punctuation important?

One of the items that I've stressed is important in poetry and prose is using punctuation properly. Appropriate placement of commas, periods and the like assist in the reader making meaning of your writing. I'm asked by writers why I think punctuation is important. Here is an example of how different punctuation can completely change the meaning when using the same words:

Letter #1

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men.

I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart.

I can be forever happy. Will you let me be yours?

Gloria

Letter #2

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me.

For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever.

When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

Yours,

Gloria
Last edited by ninian on Thu May 25, 2006 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ninian
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Post by ninian » Thu May 25, 2006 2:36 pm

Why is proficient spelling important?

We've all seen the email forward about how the mind can create the correct word out of the jumbled letters of the word so long as the first and last letter are in place. So, why is proficient spelling important?

Proficient spelling is important for a number of reasons:

* It is a courtesy to the reader and an aid to communication when words are spelled correctly.
* Occasionally a misspelled word can actually change the meaning of a text and lead to serious miscommunication.
* Misspellings are a distraction to the reader, drawing attention away from the meaning, and possibly lowering the credibility of the writer.
* To some, a poorly spelled message implies a careless attitude and careless thinking.

Good spelling ability also aids the writer because a fluent speller can concentrate more fully on the message she or he wants to convey, spending less mental attention on the details of words because they can be produced easily and automatically.

Recent studies have also shown that there is a strong relationship between spelling ability and reading, both in isolation on word lists and in text reading (Morris, 1992; Zutell and Fresch, 1991). Proficient spelling requires a high degree of word knowledge, so it is not surprising that good spellers read more accurately and more fluently.

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ninian
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Post by ninian » Thu May 25, 2006 2:38 pm

The Art of Revision

In order to revise your prose effectively, you need to learn to be your own editor. Here are some things to look for when revising:

Read the sentence aloud. Does it sound "right"? Read the paragraph aloud.

Make sure you can identify the grammatical subject of each sentence.

Check all verbs to make sure they agree with their subjects.

Check all pronouns to make sure they refer to the subject of the clause or to the subject of the previous sentence.

What is the relationship of each word to the other words in the sentence?

Look for words that are repeated too often in close proximity.

Check to see if you can make the verbs stronger, more precise. Are the verbs active?

Check sentence structure. Is it correct? If not, are you making the "errors" on purpose? Why?

Are you repeating the same sentence structure too often?

Do the sentences vary in length?

Both sentence structure and sentence length should vary. Have you used variance to the best effect?

Are your adjectives and adverbs effective and necessary? Have you used too many adjectives and adverbs? If so, try to find more specific nouns and verbs, so you can eliminate some of them.

Is every word necessary? Can you find a more concise way to say what you're saying?

Are the sentences in your paragraph in the most effective order?

What is the relationship of each sentence to the sentences before and after it? Have you used transitional phrases to help your reader see that relationship?

Are you saying exactly what you want to say? Are there any other meanings your sentences might convey? What are those meanings? Do you want to keep or eliminate them?

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Post by heinzs » Thu May 25, 2006 5:09 pm

Great advice for anyone writing anything from a note to the teacher to the great American novel. Thanks ninian.

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heinzs
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Re: Writing Tips

Post by heinzs » Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:54 pm

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