To go with my presentation “Translating medicalese into everyday English,” here’s the article that I wrote for The Editors’ Weekly, the blog of Editors Canada.
People with serious health problems are often subject to novel treatments. But that shouldn’t mean being treated like they’re in a novel. Continue reading
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As promised, I have made an ebook (in PDF) of 12 Gifts for Writers. You can download it for free, pass it around to your friends, and – I hope – gain something from it. Just click on the link:
12 Gifts for Writers (PDF, 4.2 MB)
Here, read this:
…Parking the car (smooth sleek shiny grey) in the heated, lit underground lot, though at least a good five-ten blocks away from my destination (I’d have to be lacking in intelligence to be parking it any closer: there are certain rules must abide by in these things), and out once again – though unprotected this time – into the night air (cold & misty) for a little bit of a walk: certainly conspicuous in this, as yer not likes to be finding much of too many anybody out on the streets this time of night (especially in this part of town) without a damn good reason: and if the Men in Pink happen to glance you, you will most certainly be inquired as to why wherefore where when what who you are doing out this time of night, which being the accurate nature of your business, and so on and so forth ad infinitum nauseum et cetera. Goes without saying this being my aim to avoid (perhaps one reason for choosing the darker shades in a suit for wear this eve?).
That bale of braided turds, my friends, is the start of a short story by a writer who’s trying to find his voice. I wrote it when I was 18. Continue reading
Everybody writes. Did you just tweet something? Post on Facebook? Send a quick email? That’s all writing. It’s all using words. It’s all flexing your lexical muscle. Does it seem too small to count? It still builds up habits and uses your skills. It still displays them, too. Continue reading
Writing involves facts and creation. You are expected to acquire the former and perform the latter; both are part of the job. The act of creation in writing is largely an act of selection, rearrangement, and re-presentation: showing a new way of seeing with not-new things. And don’t forget that it’s all a conversation – you’re making references to other people’s work as well as to well-known cultural elements (such as the twelve days of Christmas). Continue reading
Sit down. I’m going to tell you something I probably wouldn’t tell you directly in person.
You’re wrong about how good your writing is.
OK, you’re probably wrong. A few of you are right, but damn few. I’ve been working with writers for a long time now, and I have observed two general truisms: Continue reading
I’m sure you’ve heard that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert at it. That’s oversimplified, of course; some things take more time to master than others, and some people take more time to master things than others do. Some people practice a thing relentlessly for years and still suck at it. But as a general truism, the more you do something, the better you get at it.
There are several reasons for this. Here are three: Continue reading