Style Concerns

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing for a professional ezine or just for yourself on your own blog, you’ll need to have some kind of style and stick to it so that readers won’t be jostled around.

Style is different depending on the kind of writing you’re doing and the location. For example, most of us know there are a few differences in spelling between some Canadian and American words ( colour and color, etc) but there is also a lot that’s the same about the way writers do things on the north American continent.

Watch Out For Loaded Words

For example, most style books and all the professional editors that you will meet during the course of a career will tell you to beware of loaded words. Remember that it’s the business of the writer or blogger to say what they really mean, but there are instances where choosing one word over another can impart a value or judgment where it doesn’t belong.

Reform is a good example. It generally means to make better by removing faults or defects and that’s why you’ll hear and read about politicians using it quite often. However, you need to remember here that what one person considers reform others will see as a calamity depending on what side of the matter you’re on. One group would call it abortion law reform while another side of the same issue still considers the entire debate sanctioning murder.

These examples are specific but they are designed to get us thinking about all the different words we use and what they really mean in the context we’re using them in. Many of them are clichés we should already avoid.

A Lawyer’s Loophole

Loophole is another one you need to watch. Most people would agree this word has sly and even devious connotations. Again, it all depends who is being referred to. Tax payers who can find the breaks tax laws afford them are seen as taking advantage of the right kind of loophole but same word used to describe how a lawyer operates generally means they were cunning enough to get away with something.

Curtail Personification

By many professional standards, personification is the weakest of all literary devices and should be toned down if not abandoned altogether according to modern experts. There’s really little to excuse sentences like,

Winter thrust his icy fist into the nation’s mid-section today.

The mercury struggled all day to climb above zero.

Make sure that you never get carried away when it comes to clever analogies as well. Very often, writers will strive to be clever and even cute, but there’s never really an excuse to start mixing incongruous ingredients.

The smoke has cleared from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, but the fires still smolder in the locker room of the Baltimore Colts.

Remember that there’s a time to be clever and funny and if you miss the right moment, what you write can seem silly or even absurd.

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4 Comments

  1. Dean Saliba June 14, 2010
  2. Peter Jay June 14, 2010
  3. Peter Jay June 14, 2010
  4. Samantha Milner June 17, 2010