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NEPA BlogCon 2015: Words, Words, Words


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Session 6
Donna Talarico, Hippocampus Magazine

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NEPA BlogCon 2015: Words, Words, Words

  1. 1. Words. Words. Words. Donna Talarico Independent content writer and social media/storytelling consultant Founder/publisher of Hippocampus Magazine
  2. 2. Words. • Starters • Storytelling • Sizzle • Self-editing • Send-off
  3. 3. Starters. T O W N
  4. 4. Starters. MAN_____________________ BOARD you just me _________ feet feet feet feet feet feet
  5. 5. Starters. • Bob • Mom • Radar • Racecar • Never odd nor even • Some men interpret nine memos
  6. 6. Words. Words are fun. Words are your friend(s).
  7. 7. Storytelling. What makes a good story?
  8. 8. Storytelling. • Characters • Plot • Setting • Point of view • Inciting incident • Rising action • Resolution • Emotion • Call to action • Memorable
  9. 9. Storytelling.
  10. 10. Sizzle. • Stronger word choice – thesaurus! • Active voice • Clarity • Brevity • Literary devices (imagery, metaphor, simile, alliteration/assonance, analogy) • Wordplay
  11. 11. Sizzle. Keeping your writing to a shorter length really benefits the reader, so why don’t you perhaps try to use fewer words in your next blog post or other type of content…
  12. 12. Sizzle. …or, Be brief.
  13. 13. Sizzle. • Is there a word for what you are describing? – How many there are = quantity • Are you using unnecessary phrases? – The fact of the matter is, it’s cold = It’s cold. • Is there a more succinct way to say it? – I took all of her jewelry from her jewelry box = I emptied her jewelry box
  14. 14. Sizzle. Alliteration is absolutely effective!
  15. 15. Words. • “Bennett warmed to the idea of an ambitious Arctic adventure.” • From Hampton Sides’ In the Kingdom of Ice
  16. 16. Sizzle. • By way of a tale of a famous newspaper stunt, we meet an eccentric publishing tycoon, James Gordon Bennett Jr. We learn that this man heralds the kinds of stories the public wants to hear, but not without critics. – From my review of In the Kingdom of Ice
  17. 17. Sizzle. • Repetition can be effective. – He came. He saw. He conquered. • And sometimes redundancy it can be blah, such as overuse of a name or particular term. Instead, change up your words and name references: – Donna Talarico is speaking at BlogCon. She’s doing a session about words. The Lancaster-native is glad to be here. A former journalist, she really love words. “It’s true,” said the word nerd. – Banana boxes later becomes Chiquita crates Anaphora in action
  18. 18. Sizzle. • Part — OK, most — of the allure of Iceland is its landscape of geological wonders. Volcanoes included. So I was both nervous and excited when, a week before my September 2014 trip to the little island country, a lava-filled mountain started to spew. Bardarbunga’s eruption closed some far-off roads and made for some pretty photos and videos, but its activity didn’t cause any air travel woes, unlike the 2010 explosion of Eyjafjallajökull, which sent miles of ash into the air and grounded flights to and from Europe for days. – From my article “Land of Fire and … Elves” (
  19. 19. Sizzle. Passive • The ball was shot by him. A score was made. • A cake was baked. • Clapping was heard in the theater. • A fun time was had by all. • A baby was born. • Oops! Something went wrong. Active • He shoots! He scores! • Mom baked a cake. • The audience erupted in applause. • Everyone had fun. • We had a baby! • Oops! You did something wrong. Sometimes passive is OK. Like when you don’t want to blame someone(as in my example in green), the person acting is irrelevant, you want to emphasize the subject or you need to be vague.
  20. 20. Self-edit. • Let simmer • Read aloud • Print out a hard copy • Share • Proof vs. edit
  21. 21. Self-edit. • Spelling • Grammar • Editing-induced errors – You know the one: the ‘ol sentence rearranging and accidental leave behind of a word • Weak words • Redundancy • Unnecessary or “fluff” words • Flow • Fact-checking
  22. 22. Send-off. • Tools – A real thesaurus – Grammarly or similar – Word puzzles (Games) • Resources – Copyblogger – Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist) – Paul Smith(Lead with a Story) – Not your usual reading material
  23. 23. Any questions? Web: Twitter: @donnatalarico Email: