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13 Kate Folsom: the basics of writing good shit that people enjoy reading

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Forget everything your teachers taught you in school and listen close: it's not about knowing how to diagram a sentence or tell the difference between elusion, illusion and allusion. Writing well is about getting ideas across in a way that makes people want to keep reading, and more importantly, not beat you about the head with your own work. I'll be giving simple tips for writing effective prose and not getting bogged down in trying to fit some paradigm of "good writing."

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13 Kate Folsom: the basics of writing good shit that people enjoy reading

  1. 1. How to Write Well a primer by kate sarah folsom
  2. 2. Say what you mean!
  3. 3. Don’t dress your writing up with words you barely understand. This just shows that you own a thesaurus, and doesn’t impress anyone.
  4. 4. Bad writing makes me want to vomit. Literally, it makes me ill. Oh, and don’t misuse “literally.” Or “ironic,” for that matter.
  5. 5. It would be ironic if I’d misused the word “literally” in my last slide. If you don’t understand the concept, you have no business using this word.
  6. 6. Things that are NOT ironic: • Winning the lottery and dying the next day (coincidence) • Good advice that you didn’t take (bad judgment) • Meeting the man of your dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife (bad luck)
  7. 7. Mean what you say!
  8. 8. If you don’t believe what you’re saying, neither will we. And if you don’t understand what your point is, how can the reader possibly get it?
  9. 9. Be concise!
  10. 10. Good writing is quick and clean. Don’t add a bunch of superfluous verbiage to try to make yourself sound better. It’s just gross.
  11. 11. I am allowed to use phrases like “superfluous verbiage” because I am awesome. I know what those words mean. And I consider my audience is intelligent. Dig?
  12. 12. Use your own voice.
  13. 13. Consider your audience.
  14. 14. Learn the rules. Then discard them as necessary. • Some of the rules are really important! – Noun and verb (number) agreement – Proper punctuation – Run-on sentences • Some of the rules are kinda BS! – Splitting your verb phrase – Using contractions – Fragments
  15. 15. Write what you know.
  16. 16. Don’t “soapbox.” If you present the facts compellingly enough, people will be swayed to agree with your opinion!
  17. 17. Write something that you would want to read.
  18. 18. Try to have fun.
  19. 19. Kate Folsom katefolsom@gmail.com selfindulgentdrivel.org