Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Be Concise When Writing

Today's entry come from guest blogger Jennifer Stewart of write101. Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

Jennifer Stewart and Write101 have been part of the Web's writing community since 1998 and continue to offer detailed insights into the workings of the English language presented with just a touch of humour. Voted one of the 101 best websites for writers, Write101 has more than 800 pages of articles about all aspects of writing as well as a free online writing course, vocab quizzes, essay-writing tips for students and more. Whether you write for profit or pleasure, whether you're studying, working or retired ... there's something for every writer!

Time seems to diminish in direct proportion to the number of tasks that need doing,
so you need to make every word count when writing -- for your sake as well as your

Here are some simple ways to ensure your writing is concise:

Sentences should be short; 25 words is the maximum, around 18 is better. Don't use qualifiers in your sentences unless absolutely necessary (qualifiers add nothing to the essential meaning of a sentence, absolutely is an example of a qualifier).

Paragraphs should also be short -- 3 - 5 lines maximum. Nothing is more daunting
than line after line of text.

Remember the rules of good writing you learned at school:

a.. Vary the length of sentences
b.. Vary the beginnings of sentences

Start each sentence with a different part of speech to ensure that your sentences have a different structure as well as different beginnings. Check these examples for ideas:

Adjective: Strange as it seemed ....

Adverb: Presently the crowd parted to reveal ....

Noun: Producers waited for the results of the ....

Verb: Flushed with success she ....

Preposition: Beneath the surface of the ....

Use Topic Sentences to begin each paragraph. The topic sentence contains the main idea of each paragraph.

Vary the length and structure of paragraphs. You can develop the topic sentence of a paragraph by any of these methods:

a.. giving examples
b.. listing features
c.. classifying features
d.. comparing or contrasting features
e.. defining terms

Link each paragraph to the ones before and after it to give your writing continuity; an easy way to do this is to repeat key words or terms at the beginning and end of paragraphs (not Meta Tag keywords, just the key ideas you've treated in that particular paragraph).

Follow these simple tips to help make your writing easier to read as well as write!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Weekend Writer

Unless you are a top selling writer or have a "independent means" you are possibly a member of the not so rare "Weekend Writer's Club".

Have a read of some author's biographies - even just short ones on the internet. Many a blockbuster was written on weekends and weeknight evenings between doing a day job.

Like any writing, weekend writing requires discipline. Here are five tips to concentrate on to increase your success:

  1. 1. Book the time aside for writing - and don't let it get erroded.
  2. 2. Find a place that you find works for your creativity and always writer there - a coffee shop, in bed, hiding in the laundry - whatever it takes to get you the atmosphere you need.
  3. 3. When your writing time is up and you know you might not return to it for a few days - write yourself a short note, outlining where your thinking is at. This makes it easier to pick up again when you do return to your writing.
  4. 4. Spend some time 'not writing' and still be thorough with your research, editing, polishing etc.
  5. 5. Use some of your other spare time to be a voracious reader, take holidays so you can attend writer's retreats, attend workshops etc. You can live the writer's life part time and still feel connected.
(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Monday, 14 January 2008

Book Crossing

If you are a writer or would be writer, the only fair assumption that can be made is that you are also a reader.

The 'positive view of the world' part of me also reckons you will also be committed to other people reading and enjoying reading too. If I keep working up this track, then I extend this thought so far as to guess that you will also be interested in some book related fun and good deeds. is just the place to get some good ideas for such fun. I've been a member for a year now, and while I haven't released as many books as I would like to have, I have referred a few members.

How does it work? Well you get any books you have finished reading and are happy to pass on to others - even your own books if you have some published. Register the book on the web site - where it will be given a unique number to pop inside the book with a bookplate (which you can download from from the web site). Then you "release it" in the wild - somewhere you think a relevant reader might pass upon it. I have left one at my local church, the Uni I teach at and a local shopping centre for example.

When someone finds your book, they are encouraged to put a journal entry on the web site saying they have found it, review the book or jsut say where they will be releasing it. Talk about good going around the world!

Encourage reading - and feel good about decluttering your own book collection and join the Bookcrossing phenomenon.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Friday, 11 January 2008

The 'Good Enough' idea

Writers are inspired by many muses. Toni Morrison - a Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature - has a really useful way of working out if you have a book idea or not:

"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
~Toni Morrison

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Freelance Writing Privilege

Every now and then as a write you get the privilege of a contract really worth doing ... one you know could make some small difference to someone ...

I had this pleasure just before Christmas when I was asked to write the dedication for this year's Red Sky Ride, a fundraising event for SolarisCare who provide pretty incredible supports for people diagnosed with cancer.

This year's ride is being dedicated to a young woman Carys Gilbert, who passed on in October 2007 at the age of 17. Her family have shared Carys' story to remind people of the reality of living and dying with cancer in the hope that there will be some donations put forward for this cause.

It was a Christmas present and a half to have the privlege of meeting Carys' family and writing the dedication. Thanks.

Now to the riders of this year's 8-day ride ... all the best! You're all doing a great job getting prepared and I'm sure its going to be tough but well worth it when the donations start flying in.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Quote Journal to Inspire Writing Students

Chuck Swannell of Burlington County College created a useful classroom exercise based on a Quote Journal. It is worth having a read about - as it had a really positive effect on the students involved in his creative writing classes but would be fun for any writer to try out.

The basic idea is that students are encouraged to find quotes that move them - from films, bumper stickers, books TV etc. and then reflect upon them. Chuck also had students read them out in class each week ... The possibilities for this type of exercise are endless and at primary, secondary and tertiary study levels.

Never underestimate the value of journals in teaching creative writing!

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Writer's Centres

Never underestimate the value of your local Writer's Centre. We have a few here in Western Australia, but I am a member of the Fellowship of Australian Writer's (WA) .

As an example check out their web site ... it includes some useful links for all writers - but also the contacts for the other State Writer's Centres.

Why might you join? People join for a number of reasons - established writers join to contribute to their local writing community, and would-be writers join to learn more. You can top these reasons by considering the social contact with others interested in the craft of writing, editing and publishing - and the sheer connection to networks, information and workshops.

Give your local Writer's Centre a try.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Visual Stimulation

This site will regularly post photographs to provide visual stimulation for creative exercises ...

For today ... write the note this soldier might have left on the kitchen table for his parents, when he decided to enrol in the army without telling them first ...

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Blank Book Writing

I suspect most of the early readers of this blog will have come over from New Century Notebook. So as not to disappoint you I thought the first post here really should be about journal writing!

For now I think it is sufficient to say that writing practice, in any form, is a really useful habit for all writers and would-be writers to form. So while my New Century Notebook blog is all about blank books, journals, visual journals, e-diaries and everything journal related, I promise to write more specifically here about journaling as a resource for writers.

So watch this space.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Welcome to the Writer's Room

Welcome to The Writer's Room - a blog totally dedicated to writers and resources writers might just find handy.

Guest bloggers, advertisers, bloggers wanting exposure etc are all welcome - if you have any ideas of how this blog can be improved to better meet your needs as a writer please leave a comment so that we can chat further.

Happy writing