Thursday, January 28, 2010

Qualities of Good Writing

Meaning: A writer's message
  •  There is a point to my writing - I can answer the question: "What do I want to say?"
  • There is a reason I am writing this - I can answer: "Why am I writing this?"
  • I can tell enough about my topic so that others can understand what I am writing about. - I can answer the questions: "Who, what, where, when, why, how?" 
Form and Structure: A way of putting your ideas together so that it makes sense and is easy to follow.
  • I have a beginning, a middle and an end.
  • I group similar ideas/things together.
  • I group similar sentences together to form paragraph(s).  
  • I stick to my message without going off track.
Language: Word choice - words should be carefully chosen so that they paint a picture in the reader's mind.
  • I try not to use the same word(s) over and over.
  • I try to use descriptive words and/or phrases.
  • I use good vocabulary. 
Voice: This is the "sound" of the writer/writing. It is the YOU coming through the writing. It is your style and personality.
  • Your voice shows how you feel.
  • It makes your writing "sound" like you.
Conventions: Grammar
  • My words are spelled correctly.
  • I started each sentence and all names with a capital letter.
  • I put a punctuation mark (. ? !) at the end of every sentence.
  • I checked each sentence to make sure it made sense. All sentences should tell two things - WHO  or  WHAT is it you are talking about, and WHAT ABOUT IT. 


Kris Maruno
Photo by Fire-Poi

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A New Beginning

Here we have another new beginning,
Another chance to be what we are not.
Praised be those who recognize the rot,
Portion out the guilt, and go on living.
Years change far more frequently than we,
Nor are our changes more than painted screens,
Each placed to maximize our meager means,
Windows on a world that none can see.
Yet, truth be told, we know well what's within.
Each resolution fails to touch the heart,
As in the end we are, as at the start,
Remorseful reprobates, half hope, half sin.

By Nicholas Gordon 
Photo Credits

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas To One And All


  O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til He appeared and the soul felt it's worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine!
O night when Christ was born
O night divine!
O night, O night divine!

And in His Name, all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise his holy name
Christ is the Lord
Their name forever praise we

Noel, Noel, and
O night, O night Divine
Noel, Noel
O night, O night Divine
Noel, Noel
O night, O holy Night

Photo Credits

Friday, December 18, 2009

How to Write Good

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.

2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

3. Employ the vernacular.

4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

6. Remember to never split an infinitive.

7. Contractions aren't necessary.

8. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

9. One should never generalize.

10. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

11. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

12. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

13. Be more or less specific.

14. Understatement is always best.

15. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

16. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

17. The passive voice is to be avoided.

18. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

20. Who needs rhetorical questions?

21. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

22. Don't never use a double negation.

23. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with point

24. Do not put statements in the negative form.

25. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.

26. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.

27. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

28. A writer must not shift your point of view.

29. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)

30. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!

31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to the irantecedents.

32. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

33. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

36. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

37. Always pick on the correct idiom.

38. The adverb always follows the verb.

39. Payed attention to your verb tenses. Readers were usually less forgiving of  assaults on tense rules.

40. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They're old hat; seek viable alternatives.

Wait! Not really last. Don't forget this most important tip of all.

41. Never write on a subject that is so trivial if you want people to take your work seriously. Write about something more profound. Write about things that would make your readers stop and think  like what you had for dinner or maybe your grocery list.  If you can have plenty of photographs to go along with it, that would really be fantabulous. That should attract hordes of readers and boost the number of subscribers to your RSS feed. 

Now, if you do not need these tips then you must be doing pretty fine on your own. Congratulations! You must be one of those bloggers who write GOOD and among the countless proud recipients of that prestigious  Noble Blogger Award.

Photo  Credits
Laughing Walrus

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Comment Delivered My Blog From Obscurity

Jumpstarted By A Comment

When I first got into the doors of the blogosphere, I felt like I have crashed into someone else’s party. There were many people in attendance but no one seemed to give a damn that I was there. The shy person in me wanted to get out as fast as I could to the confines of an enclave I was more familiar with and where I felt comfortable. The other side of me who seldom leaves a challenge go untried wanted to stay and just make the most out of the situation. I did not need to toss a coin to see which side would win. I did what I believe was the more logical thing to do. I decided to stay. I could always head towards the door if ever it did not work.

I knew that the the first thing I had to do was seek out the acquaintance of everyone I could manage to rub my elbows with. I believed people would only be strangers if you would let them. It did not take long before I found myself into the thick of a blog hopping adventure. My agenda was not only to get to know as many as I could "shake hands" with but also to learn from them. There was always something to learn from each blog I visited and always when a blog post hooked my attention, I wouldn’t go back to my hopping without leaving a comment.

Commenting was a task I took seriously. Always, I had to be very clear with myself on why I am making a comment. I did not want to waste my time nor the author's time on comments I feel was of no value. There were several reasons behind every comment I made. It could be that I just wanted the author to know how much I appreciate his/her work. It may also be that I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject of the article based upon my own experiences. Sometimes, I raised questions on issues the author has raised for clarification on some points I was not very clear about. Whatever the reason or reasons behind comments I made, I always made sure that I did it in a way that was polite, with respect and devoid of arrogance. It was the least I could do as I consider it a great privilege to be allowed to share in the author’s personal thoughts

Then it happened! I left a comment on a physical fitness blog, Inspiration Life. Terilynn, the blog’s author, writes her physical fitness post in a manner which made me really want to give the exercises she suggested a try if only I wasn’t too old to go for it. LOL. She must have liked the comment. She added my blog into her blogroll. Inspiration Life was soon to be chosen as a Blog of Note by Blogger. As a result of the honor, Terilynn’s blog was an instant hit. My blog rode on the fame of her blog. Her blog was getting several thousand hits a day as a result. Visitors to her blog clicked on my link. Imagine my surprise when I was getting several hundreds of hits a day from people visiting her blog. For a blog, that was only three weeks old, that was simply awesome.

The visitors soon dwindled when a new set of blogs were named Blogs of Note. My blog, however, continued to receive visitors from Terilynn’s blog and surely would continue to do so. Thanks to Terilynn, I had met lots of nice people and made friends who had made my blogging saga, a wonderful experience given the fact that I did not fit into the mold of what most people believe an ideal blogger should be. Who would have believed that one comment could deliver your blog from obscurity.

By Julehya

Note: I was intending to write on the subject of commenting ethics but in the process of doing a research I have discovered blogs that have already explored the subject. If you are interested you could see them here and here. The research also led me to discover this beautiful article written by Julehya which not only spoke of how commenting on other blogs could help you get your blog going but also on the ethics she observed when commenting on blogs which I believe every commenter should observe. The article first appeared in November 29, 2008 on the blog, Take It To The Limit. Julehya was referring to her other blog, Before the Sun Sets, in this article. Currently said blog has been put on hold for some reason but Julehya is confident she would be able to relaunch it very soon. Ironically, even Terrilyn's blog is now limited to private access. I feel this article which attracted 32 comments is still very relevant. I have secured the permission of Julehya to have it republished here. I hope you would love the article as much as I did.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yes Virginia! Your Comments Tell Me You Are Indeed A Bitch

Bitch! That is precisely what one blogger called someone who left a comment, an inspirational thought, on his blog. Why should someone take offense on some words of wisdom? Should he not appreciate it instead? Ordinarily, I am sure he would have if only the one who left a comment showed some sign of wisdom. You see. The subject of the blog was on SEO. Clearly, on the blogging parlance, that comment was a spam. In fairness to the author of the blog, he asked the commenter politely not to spam his blog but rather than show some sign of respect and accede to his request, the commenter went back and left another spam comment instead. That is when the name calling started. His exact words, "Stop spamming my blog, bitch!'

It is interesting how comments we leave on blogs can say so much about us. The “bitch’ maintains a very popular blog on relationships. I used to read her blog until she torpedoed her credibility with that display of what I consider an act of arrogance and disrespect. That one comment she made betrayed that side of her so different from the image she exudes on her blog. And yes! She does spam a lot. I should know I spend plenty of time reading comments. Often, they can be more interesting than the blog being commented on.

Now, if you still do not think comments do say much about the person who makes it. Consider this one. “ I love pomegranates. Are they edible?” . That was a comment that someone left on a pomegranate photo post. Do tell me what you make of it.

Your thoughts are imprints of the person that you are. Next time you leave your thoughts in posterity on someone else blog, make sure it speaks well of you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stay Away From My Blog, You Bitch!

Let me give this post a bit of drama. I hate being predictable. It is a trait I least covet. Predictable is boring. It offers no excitement. So before any of my few readers, that includes my mom, would start calling me a bore and start striking their names out of my readers' list, I would like to treat them with my brand of the unexpected.

To do that, I need to get you on board. Here is what I need you to do. Look at the title of the post. You would notice that it got nothing to do with what I am blabbering about so far. You see, I purposely left out the content. That is the entire crux of the scheme.

Here is the deal. I want you to make a guess as to the gist of that content. Give me your best guess by way of comment to this post. Be as specific as much as you could with your answer. I would choose three from among those that made the correct guesses and offer their blogs one month of free advertisement on my blog. The winners will be announced on the third of November.

This is so easy so I am giving you no clue. Okey! just this one. It has got nothing to do with Lady Gaga calling herself one lucky bitch.

Now go play along and let us have fun.

By the way, in case you did not know. Men too can be bitch.