Monday, June 25, 2012

Keep Your Writing Fit by Staying Active

Years ago, as editorial supervisor at a PR agency, I trained new hires on the basics of communications copy writing. To begin I'd hand out two versions of a nearly identical document and ask them which they preferred. One was better than the other they always unanimously agreed. Why it was better, though, they generally couldn't say.

The document everyone liked featured livelier and more engaging writing and an active voice. In the other, the sentences were constructed with a hindered, passive voice. No matter what you write--whether fiction, marketing collateral, newspaper articles, or blog entries on cooking--it's generally wise to write actively rather than passively, and be direct rather than indirect. Like a healthy body, healthy writing needs to stay active. Get your words and sentences off the couch and don't let them stray!

For example, "The boy flew the kite" reads a lot better than "The kite was flown by the boy" right? And "Your Favorite Company launched the greatest product ever today" is preferable to "Today, the greatest product ever was launched by Your Favorite Company." Well, the second example is pretty good no matter which way you go. But you get where I'm coming from...

To keep things simple just remember to:  1) Make whatever you're trying to stress the subject and not the object of a sentence; 2) Avoid "to be" verb constructions whenever you can.

Remember to stay fit. Keep your prose lively, dancing on hot coals. In turn, your writing will become healthier, and better suited for the long haul.


Unknown said...

Yeah, it sounds sort of words-of-wisdom-ish, but it also requires a huge skills in writing at the first place. But in my case, my writing skills aged poorly a little))) Back then, in the bottom of my sophomore year, my skills has been quite perfect, so I've been able to raise some extra milk-money with writing essays for the lads who were not so into that via resources like this But the years passed, I've strted my backend-career and thus I've no time to spare with the improving my skills in writing..

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Vicky Ram said...

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