5 Handy Tips to Make Your Writing Clearer and More Vivid

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Not a rehash of grammar, but handy, memorable tips you can immediately apply to invigorate your own copy.

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5 Handy Tips to Make Your Writing Clearer and More Vivid

  1. 1. The Right and Wrong Way to Edit
  2. 2. Why You Need an Editor
  3. 3. “We all need editors. When we write, we might know what we mean to say, and we become blind to the looseness in our language and the gaps in our facts.” — JEFF BARON
  4. 4. “As any editor will tell you, the difference between good and great takes place in the rewrites.” — BARRY RITHOLZ
  5. 5. How Not to Edit
  6. 6. “Editing is heady. You’re in a position of power … Abuse comes naturally to someone in this position.
  7. 7. “Editing is heady. You’re in a position of power … Abuse comes naturally to someone in this position. Resist it; it doesn’t help. Concentrate on the text and its problems, not the writers and their problems.” — JOSH BERNOFF
  8. 8. Tactical vs. Strategic Editing
  9. 9. TACTICAL • “Copyediting” • “Proofreading” • Line by Line
  10. 10. TACTICAL • “Copyediting” • “Proofreading” • Line by Line STRATEGIC • Editing • Structure
  11. 11. “The writer in me desires what the editor in me cannot abide. I treasure every precious construction, every not-so-clever aside. (Like this one.) So the cuts I make to my own drafts are marginal. I compress rather than select; shake, never prune. Until another editor does it for me.” — CARLOS LOZADA
  12. 12. “Writers can’t always take the long view or judge adequately whether their tone or rhetorical devices are working as they think they are. I can’t count the number of times an editor has done me that great service.” —Margaret Sullivan
  13. 13. Is your text missing necessary background info?
  14. 14. Is your text missing necessary background info? Is it unfair?
  15. 15. Is your text missing necessary background info? Is it unfair? Is it libelous?
  16. 16. Is your text missing necessary background info? Is it unfair? Is it libelous? Have crucial questions gone unasked?
  17. 17. Explain the way you to a golden retriever
  18. 18. The CONNECT software provides a common gateway which manages services that package and transport data using messaging protocols compliant with NHIN specifications.
  19. 19. The CONNECT software provides a common gateway which manages services that package and transport data using messaging protocols compliant with NHIN specifications. The CONNECT software is a “common gateway,” or a sentinel that checks the credentials of every datum that seeks to pass through it. As long as the data are using messaging protocols that comply with NHIN, CONNECT gives them permission to proceed.
  20. 20. Omit Needless Words
  21. 21. Included below and attached you will find media articles that address issues that may be pertinent to the work the analytics staff is conducting.
  22. 22. Included below and attached you will find media articles that address issues that may be pertinent to the work the analytics staff is conducting. Please find below and attached articles that pertain to analytics.
  23. 23. The technicians are working on the processing of work orders.
  24. 24. The technicians are working on the processing of work orders. The technicians are processing the work orders.
  25. 25. I’m curious to know if these slides were coordinated with anyone from the MHS for accuracy purposes.
  26. 26. I’m curious to know if these slides were coordinated with anyone from the MHS for accuracy purposes. Did anyone coordinate these slides with MHS for accuracy?
  27. 27. Favor the Active Voice
  28. 28. The report was written by multiple, cross- agency stakeholder groups.
  29. 29. The report was written by multiple, cross- agency stakeholder groups. Multiple, cross-agency stakeholder groups wrote the report.
  30. 30. The report was written by multiple, cross- agency stakeholder groups. Stakeholders across various agencies wrote the report. Multiple, cross-agency stakeholder groups wrote the report.
  31. 31. It was concluded that additional briefings were needed for feedback to be solicited.
  32. 32. It was concluded that additional briefings were needed for feedback to be solicited. Identifying the need for further feedback, the co-chairs conducted additional briefings.
  33. 33. It was concluded that additional briefings were needed for feedback to be solicited. Because they needed more feedback, the co-chairs conducted more briefings. Identifying the need for further feedback, the co-chairs conducted additional briefings.
  34. 34. Use Specifics
  35. 35. When a major weather incident, terrorist threat, or other emergency affects the American population, emergency personnel need a way to inform residents of what to do. Television and radio alerts help spread the word, but they cannot reach everyone.
  36. 36. When a major weather incident, terrorist threat, or other emergency affects the American population, emergency personnel need a way to inform residents of what to do. Television and radio alerts help spread the word, but they cannot reach everyone. When a major emergency — a tornado, a bomb threat, the snowpocalypse that recently blanketed the Eastern seaboard — breaks out, people panic. Should I evacuate or shelter in place? For how long should I take cover in the bathtub? If inside, you can flip on a TV or radio. If outside, you can congregate and chat.
  37. 37. Fortunately, many people carry another method of communication — a cellular phone. In the future, a message could be broadcasted to cellular and paging devices to notify the public of an approaching storm or other emergency.
  38. 38. Fortunately, many people carry another method of communication — a cellular phone. In the future, a message could be broadcasted to cellular and paging devices to notify the public of an approaching storm or other emergency. Yet what’s the one thing most of us carry regardless of where we are — the one thing we’re most likely to grab in an emergency? Hint: 91% of Americans own one. That’s right — it’s your cell phone. Portable and powerful, your cell phone is the perfect vehicle through which emergency responders can beam critical, urgent info to you before, during, and after a disaster.

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