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Writing Is a Craft

My friend received an intemperate email yesterday from someone upset about the editorial policy of an online journal he edits. The writer was irked that the magazine, so he claimed, allowed editors to change an article without the author’s permission. He took offence, declared the policy “barbarous” and announced that he would never submit his […]

Bercow’s Address to Our Kaleidoscope Queen

John Bercow’s speech to Her Majesty the Queen in Parliament yesterday has provoked the ire of the usual suspects. Video of the risible occasion with bonus expert commentary below: This is a land where men and women today are equal under the law and where Your people are respected, regardless of how they live, how […]

Book Review: Write to Sell: The Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting (Andy Maslen)

Andy Maslen gets straight down to the stuff that matters to copywriters in this concise guide to writing words that sell. The author, a successful marketer and copywriter with some 20-plus years in the industry, pitches the book at anyone that writes copy, whether they’re a newbie, a professional writer or a non-writer who has […]

When to Use the Passive Voice

“Never use the passive where you can use the active.” — George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” “Don’t use the passive voice” has attained the status of divine commandment in the minds of some editors and writers. As with so many supposed rules of good grammar, however, “No passives” is too general and, followed […]

Does Writing about Yourself Make You an Egotist?

I’ve written a lot about myself, but often — and my writing probably doesn’t betray this — I’ve felt self-conscious about it. No one writes about himself unless he’s famous or accomplished, or he’s done something no one else has done, surely? The answer to this conflict should have been obvious to me all along, […]

A Small Orange Creates a Passionate User

This is the story of how a tweet about three rogue punctuation marks bagged me a free T-shirt, a Moleskine notebook and a handwritten note from the CEO from one of the world’s best and brightest web-hosting companies. It began with an email I received from A Small Orange, the hosting company I’ve been using […]

Common Errors in Writing: The Dangling Participle

Dangling participles have, in my opinion, at least two major claims to infamy. First, the phrase is by far the funniest in the writing and editing rulebook. Whenever I hear or read it, I want to say, “Don’t look now, but your participles are dangling.” Second, dangling participles are perhaps the most common grammatical error I […]

Diabolique Magazine: Horror for the Connoisseur

31/07/12 Click here for an important update regarding Diabolique magazine I was seven when horror came in search of me. I’d seen it from afar: garish comic-strip representations of Dracula on Valentine picture postcards, glimpses of men standing around in misty graveyards in late-night films I wasn’t allowed to watch. But when I was seven, my father gave me […]