Top 10 most common business grammar errors

grammar monster

The Grammar Monster doesn’t like what he sees in business documents. Let’s publicly flog the worst offenders.

I edit a lot of business documents, from blog posts to case studies, from book manuscripts to press releases. It’s funny how the same errors repeat themselves from document to document, from client to client. Here are some of those I see the most. [Read more…]

How To Dazzle With Dialogue

5 principles of dialogue

Screenplay writer Kristin Johnson offers five key principles of dialogue, with an example of all five from the movie “Steve Jobs”.

On February 9 I had the great fortune to speak to the Desert Screenwriters Group (DSG), a special interest group (SIG) critique group under the umbrella of the Palm Springs Writers Guild (PSWG). [Read more…]

Three ways to write for the Web

How to write stories for the Web

There are three ways to write for online readers.  Learn the basics on how to write for the Web below.

You might have heard that writing for the Web is different than other writing. And you would be right.  But it is not that simple.

There are three types of writing for the Web.  Each serves a different purpose.  Each takes a different approach.  If you master these three styles, you can write anything you will need to reach an online audience:

  • Sales copy
  • Task-oriented content
  • Storytelling

Your conversion rate, however you measure it, depends on directly identifying the style you need. [Read more…]

What Words With Friends can teach you about writing

Procrastinate with words

If you plan to procrastinate, you might as well do so with something to challenge your inner wordmaster.

Neurolinguistics professor Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) played it as a way to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in the movie “Still Alice”.

Many of your writer friends probably play it.

You might, too.

Words With Friends. Better than Solitaire or WoW (World of Warcraft) as a procrastination tool, you rationalize. I mean, at least this game has something to do with writing. Welcome to the moral high ground. [Read more…]

My favorite online research tools for writers

Online research tools for writers

Here’s how I researched material for a book I was ghostwriting. You might like these tools, too.

You can’t find everything on the Internet…yet.  But you sure can find a lot.  I’ve been working on a true story, a non-fiction novel about a business being sabotaged.  You know what I’m talking about – the players involved, the conspiracy, the heartbreaks and all that goes into a real-life story of intrigue and drama.

If you own a business, so much of this can happen to you, too. But it probably won’t.

Because this is a true story, I had better get my facts right. Here are some of the online research tools I used to write this novel accurately. [Read more…]

Writers, just write

Any Chance To Perform

Ever wonder how to become a better writer? It’s simple. Sit down at your keyboard and start writing.

I have seen this question posed in various ways over the years: “How can I become a better writer?” And the answer really isn’t any different than “How can I become a better basketball player?” Or “How can I become a better guitar player?” Or “How can I become a better evil magician?” [Read more…]

Take this test to see if you are an incurable writer (56 questions)

Murder-knife-blood

Are you an incurable writer? Here are 56 tell-tale clues!

This is the fifth in a series of self-help tests to diagnose you as an incurable writer, hopelessly addicted to words and a vagabond spirit upon this planet.

If you are a writer, my condolences. But you won’t get any pity from me, because I’m a writer, too. If you missed any of the first four tests, here are the links: [Read more…]

Top 7 myths about expert roundups

Expert roundup myths

Expert roundup posts have become more than just trendy. Let’s clear up some of the biggest myths about them.

It was not that long ago that a “roundup” blog post meant a collection of the most interesting posts on a topic that had appeared in the past week, month or year. Sometimes these were posts from around the Web. Sometimes, especially for annual roundups, it would be the best or most popular posts that had appeared on that blog: “My top posts of 2015!”

These days, you rarely hear the word “roundup” without the word “expert” in front of it. These expert roundups typically feature a large number of people responding to one or two questions, and all their responses are published verbatim. [Read more…]

Authors, sell your rights

Authrs Sell Your Rights

As an author, you have more rights than you might think. Get more out of your writing; sell your rights.

Most authors don’t think too much about their rights. They think about copyright, for sure. They often mail themselves a copy of their manuscript, making sure that the date of mailing is very clearly displayed in the cancellation, as proof of copyright.

Most authors also register their work with their national copyright registry. Many authors even believe that registering their work grants them copyright. It doesn’t; registration is just registration. Copyright is created when pen hits paper or fingertips hit keyboard.

But once the work is complete, there are many additional rights that you own and might be very valuable to sell. [Read more…]

The difference between authors and writers

Writer or Author

What is the difference between a writer and an author? Well…it’s complicated.

Running a ghostwriting agency, I get this question all the time. “What is the difference between a writer and an author?” It is an important distinction to be made on a practical level, if for no other reason because our ghostwriting contracts sometimes make the distinction. [Read more…]