Sylvia Miller
Sr. Communications Analyst, Elsevier
STC Fellow
 Does writing quality matter to you?
 Does your blood pressure rise when you see
errors in grammar, usage, or sentence
s...
 Discuss ways to eliminate the following from
our writing:
◦ Wordiness
◦ Redundancies and clutter
◦ Dangling and misplace...
 Finish this: The latest, greatest, coolest
technology and presentation in the world
doesn’t matter if...
 Even in an ed...
 Use short words and phrases when they work
as well as long words and phrases.
◦ within with
◦ listing list
◦ request ask...
 BEFORE: If a publication is unavailable for use,
use this list to provide a reason as to why the
publication is unavaila...
 I want to impress you with all the words I
know, especially all the big ones.
 Because I write for a living, you expect...
 “If you can’t explain it simply, you
don’t understand it well enough.”
Albert Einstein
 “Even highly educated, sophisti...
 When fried, I like okra.
 Flying over the African plain, the elephants
were a wonderful site.
 Having laid an egg weig...
 The system ignores filter options when
selecting a letter from the alphabet bar.
 When referring to a specific function...
 The writer is the provider of hilarious
entertainment.
 The writer is careless or too rushed to
proofread.
 The writer...
 “I try to make what I have written tighter,
stronger, and more precise, eliminating every
element that’s not doing usefu...
 Zinsser drew brackets around “any
component in a piece of writing that wasn’t
doing useful work.”
 Unnecessary preposit...
 Underline or italicize key words in a sentence. “Look
carefully at the remaining words so you can determine
which are un...
 WORDY: Once information is posted into the
tab, the Import button is then clicked to import
the information, and as a re...
 I want to impress you with long, complex
sentences.
 I don’t care if I make readers wade through
unnecessary words to g...
 “We are not writing clearly because people are
dumb. We’re writing clearly because we
respect their [readers’] time, int...
 “If you make your content easy to read, you
aren’t ‘dumbing down’, you are opening up
your information to anyone who wan...
 Work with others at your table to:
 Shop petites by shortening and tightening wording
 Clean up and cut clutter
 Rear...
 My contact information:
sylviaamiller@woh.rr.com
Or
sylvia.miller@elsevier.com
#stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
 About.com Grammar & Composition – Richard
Nordquist (weekly email) http://grammar.about.com
 Grammar Girl -
http://www....
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Spruce up writing stc may 2014

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Summit 2014 presentation: It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing

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Spruce up writing stc may 2014

  1. 1. Sylvia Miller Sr. Communications Analyst, Elsevier STC Fellow
  2. 2.  Does writing quality matter to you?  Does your blood pressure rise when you see errors in grammar, usage, or sentence structure?  Do you recognize your own writing faux pas, or do they slide through and end up embarrassing you?  This session might be for you. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  3. 3.  Discuss ways to eliminate the following from our writing: ◦ Wordiness ◦ Redundancies and clutter ◦ Dangling and misplaced modifiers  Consider how these writing offenses unintentionally reveal our attitudes toward readers.  Work in teams to practice fixing these types of writing errors. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  4. 4.  Finish this: The latest, greatest, coolest technology and presentation in the world doesn’t matter if...  Even in an edgy multimedia piece, wordy, redundant, or ambiguous writing slowly deflates a discerning reader’s awe. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  5. 5.  Use short words and phrases when they work as well as long words and phrases. ◦ within with ◦ listing list ◦ request ask ◦ you have the option you can ◦ in order to to ◦ unavailable for use unavailable  Use the least number of words necessary to convey your meaning. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  6. 6.  BEFORE: If a publication is unavailable for use, use this list to provide a reason as to why the publication is unavailable. (21 words)  BETTER: If a publication is not available, select the reason from the list. (12 words) #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  7. 7.  I want to impress you with all the words I know, especially all the big ones.  Because I write for a living, you expect me to know and use a lot of words.  I don’t care if I make readers wade through unnecessary words to get the point. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  8. 8.  “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein  “Even highly educated, sophisticated readers do best with plain English writing. They are often the busiest and most impatient of your site visitors [readers], so words that they recognize most quickly work best.” Ginny Redish. Letting Go of the Words, 2007. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  9. 9.  When fried, I like okra.  Flying over the African plain, the elephants were a wonderful site.  Having laid an egg weighing two pounds, the farmer proudly displayed his favorite ostrich to the photographers. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  10. 10.  The system ignores filter options when selecting a letter from the alphabet bar.  When referring to a specific function in an application, a topic should always be associated with a book.  By entering information in the available entry fields, the system will provide a search results listing based on entered criteria. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  11. 11.  The writer is the provider of hilarious entertainment.  The writer is careless or too rushed to proofread.  The writer’s attitude is, “It’s okay. The readers know what I mean.” #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  12. 12.  “I try to make what I have written tighter, stronger, and more precise, eliminating every element that’s not doing useful work. Then I go over it once more, reading it aloud, and am always amazed at how much clutter can still be cut.” William Zinsser. On Writing Well, 2006  smile happily absolutely essential  still remains end result  very unique unplanned emergency #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  13. 13.  Zinsser drew brackets around “any component in a piece of writing that wasn’t doing useful work.”  Unnecessary preposition: fill [up]  Unnecessary adverb: might [possibly]  Unnecessary adjective: [tall] skyscraper  Little qualifier that weakens: [a bit], [sort of]  Phrase: [in a sense]  Entire sentence #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  14. 14.  Underline or italicize key words in a sentence. “Look carefully at the remaining words so you can determine which are unnecessary, and then eliminate wordiness by deleting them.” Kriszner and Mandell. The Wadsworth Handbook, 8th ed., 2008.  WORDY: Once information is posted into the tab, the Import button is then clicked to import the information, and as a result, a summary opens. The Import Summary is a system review or checkout of the information to be imported and verifies items to be included in the new group. Also, items which cannot be imported for one reason or another are also listed in the summary. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  15. 15.  WORDY: Once information is posted into the tab, the Import button is then clicked to import the information, and as a result, a summary opens. The Import Summary is a system review or checkout of the information to be imported and verifies items to be included in the new group. Also, items which cannot be imported for one reason or another are also listed in the summary.  BETTER: Click Import. A summary opens showing the information that was (or was not) imported. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  16. 16.  I want to impress you with long, complex sentences.  I don’t care if I make readers wade through unnecessary words to get the point. They’re probably going to skim anyway.  I don’t have time to reread or use techniques to cut the clutter. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  17. 17.  “We are not writing clearly because people are dumb. We’re writing clearly because we respect their [readers’] time, interest and attention.” Sarah J. Richards, Dumbing Down, blog, 4/28/2014 #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  18. 18.  “If you make your content easy to read, you aren’t ‘dumbing down’, you are opening up your information to anyone who wants to read it. You are making it accessible. You are trying not to exclude people based on their education, cognitive function or reading ability.” Sarah J. Richards, Dumbing Down, blog, 4/28/2014 #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  19. 19.  Work with others at your table to:  Shop petites by shortening and tightening wording  Clean up and cut clutter  Rearrange to eliminate dangling or misplaced modifiers  We’ll compare results. #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  20. 20.  My contact information: sylviaamiller@woh.rr.com Or sylvia.miller@elsevier.com #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
  21. 21.  About.com Grammar & Composition – Richard Nordquist (weekly email) http://grammar.about.com  Grammar Girl - http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/gramm ar/top-ten-grammar-myths  Zinsser, William. On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. Harper Perennial, 2006.  Redish, Janice. Letting Go of the Words, Second Edition: Writing Web Content that Works. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2012.  http://www.sarahjrichards.com/1/post/2014/04/du mbing-down.html #stc14 It's Time to Spruce Up Your Writing
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