“I help people” … but so does everybody else

How often do you see in written bios, and hear in business networking meetings, “I/we help people/clients to…..” ??

I help people...

Do you fall into the “I/we help you…” trap?

Of course there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a good way to start off for a number of reasons. That’s why so many of us use the “help you” way into the introduction. Then what happens?

We get the death of a good word, and the birth of a cliché

[Read more…]

How to sharpen up your blogs and articles with one quick chop

Have you ever looked at something you’ve just written and thought, “that first paragraph isn’t needed?

No? Well, maybe you should. Even we pro writers often go back and chop off the first paragraph or even two, and let the blog, article or other piece of writing start a few lines along, when we really get down to business.

chopping branch of tree

Either leave preambles and back stories out altogether, in a box, or at the back.

When your writing engine is still running cold…

It’s a bit like when you start your car on a cold morning. I know most modern cars have automatic chokes, but you still don’t get the best performance from even a late model Bentley until the engine has warmed up. [Read more…]

Write Around The Web: literary festival, proofreading, typography, adverbs and a smile

Welcome to our new selection of curated info from around the web — hand-picked for HTWB readers by yours truly. Enjoy!
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Milton Keynes, England — easy to get to from London, Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and beyond…Sz 

Milton Keynes Literary Festival 18-22 September 2019

A fabulous festival of books, words, writers and ideas that celebrates everything literary, bookish or wordyMilton KeynesAfter a triumphant debut in 2017 – with Lynton Kwesi Johnson, Michael Rosen and much more – we returned in 2018 with an even more ambitious programme, working with new Festival partners and venues to bring a cornucopia of the finest contemporary writing to the city.  Highlights in 2018 included Hollie McNish, Mark Haddon and Lemn Sissay. [Read more…]

Branding: who needs a logo when you wear glasses?

How seriously do you take branding for your business? OK, if you’re Coca Cola or Kellogg’s it’s very, very serious and you don’t have a choice. But for those of us running rather, er, smaller enterprises, do you realise that branding is just as important?

Now, those of you who know me personally know that I don’t do fancy, but I do branding, sort of, for my meagre writing business. Here, therefore, is the “living logo” that has been working very hard for me for the last six years:

Suzan St Maur's glasses

Who do you think of when you see a woman with a mop of short, blonde hair and big black glasses? And don’t you dare say “Maxine...” I don’t do hats. LOL.

Why a pair of glasses for branding, when I’m a writer?

[Read more…]

Writing a nonfiction book? Compete with Google at your peril

Before Google there was a need for lots of books that shared information. Now? Who needs an encyclopædia when Google is at your fingertips?

Bang goes the door on your butt if you want to write a nonfiction book covering topics of a certain informational type that, now, are so hungrily available on Google.Google logoI had the painful experience recently of looking into the production of another “A to Z” book of terms for two particular audiences, each clearly defined, one of which I describe below.

All seemed clear and cracking until that “Oh No” moment hit me: why should people buy this book containing umpty-dump hundred entries when all they need to do to find out what any of that content means, is to key it into Google? [Read more…]

Writing accidents: whatever happened to Spoonerisms?

Do you ever jumble up your words and come up with an entertaining alternative? Pity then, for poor old Reverend Spooner, whose jumbling up of words and phrases had his students at New College, Oxford rolling in the aisles laughing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

article about Spoonerisms

Great minds like a think (Great minds think alike)

To quote Wikikpedia:
Spoonerisms are named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this mistake.[3][4] The term “Spoonerism” was well established by 1921.

Approximate Spoonerisms I’ve written for some of our favourite personalities:

Jealous Boxin’ (Boris Johnson)

Trumbald Dump (Donald Trump)

Mawistful Tray (Theresa May) [Read more…]

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