William Strunk Jr. phrased it best in the must-have book for writers of all levels, Elements of Style:
“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”
There’s a tendency to fill writing with needless words; this can bog a reader down in details, distracting from your message. Mastering the art of decluttering words frees you to effectively capture readers’ attention, sparking intrigue and affirming expertise in what you are writing about.
Here are some must-have tips to help you do just that…
A writer friend contacted me the other day to ask if I had any how-to posts on self-publishing. Specifically, she was asking for detailed information on how to self-publish her book on Amazon.
I didn’t have anything like that, as this blog assumes you will have already published your book and are looking for ways to promote it. But after a quick search, I realized that Amazon has dedicated an entire microsite to just that. They call it KDP Jumpstart and is a mini-course that walks you through all steps. So, here it is, for any writers who are still looking to self-publish their first book.
New to Kindle Direct Publishing? Want a simple, step-by-step guide to publishing on Amazon? KDP Jumpstart is a streamlined, sequential approach to the steps required to go from finished manuscript to published book. To publish on KDP, you’ll complete four major…
Punctuation marks are symbols, used to regulate written text, clarify their meaning by separating or linking words, phrases or clauses.
The great American inventor and typographer Benjamin Franklin wrote a peculiar epitaph.
Benjamin Franklin, the * of his profession, the type of honesty; the ! of all; and although the (of death) has put a . to his existence, each) of his life has been without ?
Benjamin Franklin, the star of his profession, the type of honesty; the wonder of all and although parenthesis of death has put a stop to his existence, each curve of his life has been without question,
We use a capital letter –
To begin a sentence. What a piece of work is man!
For proper nouns. The Taj Mahal is a magnificient mausolem.
After full stops. I know her. She is my neighbour.
To begin a fresh line in a poetry. Errors like straws, upon the surface flow; He who search for pearls must dive below.
Compare the two sentences:
Mary says, “Sally is a fool.”
“Mary,” says Sally, “is a fool.”
From these two sentences it is clear that stops may alter the sense of a sentence. Punctuation means the correct use of such stops.
The lush green surroundings of McCluskigunj, with its dirt tracks and fresh air is indeed a retreat for the stressed out souls. About 64 kilometres from the capital of Jharkhand, Ranchi; this sleepy town is surrounded by hills, forests and meandering rivulets. It is 1500 feet from sea level and has a pleasant climate throughout the year.
A series of colonial bungalows stand to tell us the story of a dream settlement envisioned by Earnest Timothy McCluskie in 1932. When the 200 year British rule was about to end, the Anglo- Indian community with its British DNA and Indian hearts earned for a Homeland right in the heart of India.
McCluskie in one of his hunting expeditions fell in love with the place in the midst of hills and forests. McCluski leased some 10,000 acres of land from Raja of Ratu and formed a cooperative called The Colonization Society of India. In 1933 he sent invitations to the Anglo-Indian community for settling down in McCluskigunj. About 300 families constructed bungalows in McCluskigunj which came to be known as Little England. Parties, hunting expeditions, high teas and revelry became the order of the day for the inhabitants of McCluskigunj. Joyous days were spent among the beauteous nature of Chhotanagpur Plateau.
By the end of WW-II most of the inhabitants had suffered a setback and decided to leave the place. About 30 families, who had made McCluskigunj their home and couldn’t bear to depart. The effects of settling down in the remote area were seen in the generations to come. The place did not offer career prospects to the future generations, who either moved to the bigger cities or faced a bleak future. There are several heritage bungalows which serve as guest houses to tourists.
The banks of the Dugadugi River, the Gurdwara and temple in the same complex in Duli village, sunset at Jagrirti Vihara are some of the attractions of this leisurely place apart from the picturesque colonial bungalows dotting the main streets. The shaded groves, the gurgling river relaxes the mind and rejuvenates the body. It is here that stress develops wings and fades away into oblivion.
“Come on…. it’s getting late,” yelled Swarna at the top of her voice. The children scampered all around with excitement. It was natural. Soham was six and Sona ten, yet they had been on only two vacations in their entire life. The reason was Swarna’s demanding job and never ending fund crisis. Swarna worked in a small firm. The income was meagre and the job demanding. All private firms were the same – profit oriented. In spite of her frustrations, Swarna continued her tedious tasks day in and day out in hope of a better future. This vacation was planned by her, and executed by her husband Joy. Actually his name was Vijay, but Swarna called him Joy which meant victory in Bangla. Joy too called her Soro; a shortened form of Swarna. She did like the endearment till Sona pointed out that it sounded like sorrow. But by the time Sona had pointed it out; the name itself was ten years old and had achieved a distinct identity. “Soro!” Joy called out, “it’s time to leave…” “Coming…” Swarna replied as she hurriedly opened the trunk in which she kept all her expensive saris. She wrapped the small steel box, containing her jewellery, in an old sari belonging to her late mother-in-law, and kept it among the saris inside. It was a small precaution that she always took while leaving the house, she never left it in the safe inside the cupboard. She knew that would be the first place the thieves would steal from in case of a break in. “ We must buy a locker at a bank, it isn’t safe to keep so much jewellery in the house,” she thought. Her years of hard work had been transformed into beautiful gold jewellery which she often flaunted at various family functions. The envious looks of the relatives and friends, gave her the reason to buy more jewellery each year. From just a pair of earnings and a gold chain that she had during the time of her marriage, she now possessed about twenty items of gold jewellery as well as a couple of expensive saris that she had bought after several severe altercations with Joy. Satisfied with her work she locked the trunk, and covered it with cushions which turned it into a chair. She snatched the lunch from the kitchen and headed for the door. “We’ll miss the train because of you,” her husband grumbled. Everything went well, and Swarna posted as many pics and videos as possible. The children enjoyed the beach immensely. Her relatives, friends and colleagues showered them with likes and comments in all the social media accounts that she had. Swarna was sure they were seething with jealousy inside. As they arrived at their house, Swarna requested her husband to buy some lunch. She was too tired to move. Joy got down from the taxi at the crossing; and told them to move ahead. It was only a minutes walk to their home. Swarna found the key and opened the door. “I shall sleep for a day before I do any work,” she said to Soham and Sona. “We too,” they replied in unison. A wave of shock passed through Swarna as she looked at her living room. Everything was scattered on the floor. The sari with which she had wrapped the box of jewels, lay on the floor. The window to the living room had been cut open and the thieves had taken their time to remove everything that was worth stealing. Swarna sank on the floor. The children hurried to find their possessions. Somewhere through the daze, she heard a voice. “Soro!” .She felt water being sprinkled on her face, and light pats on her cheek from somewhere far beyond.
My daughter recently had to study Macbeth for year 12 senior English, as I had done twenty-five years ago. The assessment itself was essentially unchanged: a monologue presentation followed by an exam. Macbeth is my favourite of all Shakespeare’s works so I was more than happy to revisit the play as a means of helping my daughter out with this final piece of assessment for high school. Out of the two of us, I ended up being the only one to actually read Macbeth in its entirety. Seriously, the internet is a game changer for students today. It puts me in mind of this joke:
My daughter didn’t read the play because she didn’t need to. She could simply Google ‘Macbeth’ and visit any number of useful sites dedicated to dissecting all of the elements in a clear and concise way. If she wanted to, she could have even read…