What to write to bereaved parents – Part Two

It’s one thing to write about what to write in general terms. But when it happens to you, and the deceased child is a relative, wow – does that really bring it home.

What to write to bereaved parents

My cousin whom we lost a few days ago aged just 31. What the hell can I say to his parents? What can anyone anyone say to his parents that might help them?

On Tuesday this week I sat in my car after attending an excellent business networking launch of a new group and, feeling in a good mood, I took my phone off “silent” and looked through my messages.

One from one of my favourite cousins, a French-speaking Belgian (my mother was Belgian) began with the words – in French – “I am devasted to tell you that our son was killed in a motorcycle accident in the Philippines on Sunday.”

He was 31 years old. [Read more…]

Why writing capital Letters for the Wrong words makes them (and you) look Stupid

Are you one of the increasing number of people who think that all you need to make a word more important is to give it a capital letter?

Misuse-of-capital-letters

Very nice – but don’t overuse!

As my business partner (an ex-Oxford University publisher/editor/author) would say, “why capitalise your status as a Bricklayer? Does that really make it seem more important than bricklayer?”

Capital letters: after apostrophes, the most commonly abused characters in writing

[Read more…]

Snotty words and phrases: why you mustn’t write them

Do you ever write snotty (i.e. pompous, patronising, condescending) words or phrases … I hope, by accident?

Pompous language

Meet the Snotties.

It’s alarmingly easy to write stuff you think is precise and correct, only to find that as far as your target audience is concerned you come across as a pretentious old/young goat.

Who, moi? My writing is pompous, snotty and stuffy?

Could be. [Read more…]

How to write with a co-writer or two

Many of us – in any number of job roles – are well used to working within a team, which might suggest that writers can work in a team in a similar way. Uh, uh: not necessarily. Why? Read on. If you need to collaborate with another worker – whether for business or other activity, for a blog, article, report, white paper, brochure, etc…here are some tips you might find helpful.

Writing with more than one author

A camel is a horse designed (and written about) by a committee.

Probably the most difficult part of working within a team as one or two of the “writers,” is the way that these roles can become politically sensitive.

Why does being “the writer” in a team suggest authority?

[Read more…]

What to write to someone whose child has died

Have you ever said or written something, trying to be helpful when someone’s child has died, only to realise that was probably the worst thing you could have done?

what to write to bereaved parents

Nothing can possibly replace or compensate for the child they lost.

Some years ago my next-door neighbours got married. As we lived in adjacent terrace/town houses, were good friends, and it was summer, we opened up both homes for a circular party which went on until well into the next day and on arising that next morning I found various sleeping bodies in my house with no idea who the hell they were.

No worries: all were wedding guests and the bride, groom, my partner and I managed to make a hangover-curing breakfast for all before booting them out and returning to bed to catch up on sleep. The wife was pregnant at the time. At full term she went into labour, and delivered their son, Jack. He died a few hours later. [Read more…]

How to write political spin

You really can’t fail to admire the ways in which political journalists and politicians manage to write accounts of events and issues which, though vaguely accurate if you stretch your imagination, vary hysterically and often hilariously in how the subjects are portrayed.

political spin

Spin description of a prison sentence: a “holiday paid for by Her Majesty.”

What exactly do we mean by “political spin?”

According to our beloved Wikipedia

“In public relations and politicsspin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, “spin” often implies the use of disingenuousdeceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.[1]”

[Read more…]

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