Writerliness and Being Writerly

The term “writerly” fans a flame inside me. It’s a virtuous word that speaks of crafting words into sentences and paragraphs with passion, imagination and┬álove. I just searched for a definition of “writerly” and found┬áthis: 1. of or characteristic of a writer 2. characterized by the qualities of a writer’s craft, esp. by those that […]

On Passive-Aggressive Wikipedia Edits

The silly but much-cherished rule of never using the grammatical passive in writing has bred some strange notions of what exactly the passive is. To some, “passive” apparently means “any construction that twists the grammar of a sentence so badly that it sounds instinctively wrong to just about everyone.” That would certainly seem to be […]

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 […]