Eliminate these 2 words to improve your writing

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. -Mark Twain

ReadWriteI just stumbled upon a web page (truly stumbled upon, as in “Thanks, Stumble Upon, the social media network I almost never use but might start glancing at occasionally after this!”) with a Mark Twain quote so priceless that it inspired this post:

It’s not just the quote, though. The article on the Writers Write website, “45 Ways to avoid using the word ‘very,'” goes to the heart of one of my pet peeves. There are two words that I think writers should excise from their vocabulary, and one of them is in fact “very.” The other? “Thing.” Continue reading

Fact vs. Fiction: If it’s on the Internet, does it have copyright protection?

Author=Stephan Baum, Sanbec, ttog

Image: CC Stephan Baum

It makes me sad that many people don’t already know the answer to this question, but experience tells me they don’t. So consider this a public service announcement on behalf of content creators everywhere. (Yes, my writer and illustrator friends, this one’s for you.) And for those of you who already know the answer to the question, please join me in a campaign to spread the word. Continue reading

Reporters and Editors: You’re Marketers Now (Like it or Not)

Keyboards/kimkishbaughThe lines have blurred for reporters and editors these days.

We used to be able to position ourselves above the fray. We’re objective, we’d say. We tell the story the way it really is. PR people may spin the news, but we tell it straight.

All of that’s true. And all of that’s valid. But it’s no longer the whole story.

Truth is, reporters and editors have to shoulder a share of the marketing effort these days. Continue reading

Storytelling and the Detective

An object lesson for association and non-profit marketers

CD booksOnce upon a time, there was a girl who loved stories. All kinds of stories, but especially detective stories. Growing up, she devoured every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery ever written. As she got older, she graduated to other mysteries as well: books by Tony Hillerman, Sara Paretsky, Jasper Fforde – to name only a few. A really good mystery novel was like a really good friend. Continue reading