A writer in the making?

My mom recently found this essay I wrote back in 1977, apparently just for fun. Typos, odd spellings, etc., left intact. “Summer of ’77” After school was out (june i0) I had decided to go to day camp. It was not like I expected it to be. The first day it sprinkled, so we could not go swiming. THen we …

New York Times: Celebrating the Semicolon

The New York Times writes on the New York Public Transit System’s proper use of the semicolon. The relevant sentence: “Please put it [your newspaper] in a trash can; that’s good news for everyone.” The use of a semicolon in this instance is indeed correct, but I would prefer a period or an em dash. Either would add more punch …

The Joy of Finishing (or Starting?) a Writing Project

Correspondent M.C. sends this quote he ran across today: Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period. — Nicholas Sparks, author (1965-) M.C. notes that “this may be true for Mr. Sparks, but just getting that first sentence onto paper is one heck …

Creative Competitions (and not-so-creative scams)

Everyone in the creative biz knows that part of the game is entering (and winning) creative contests–like the American Advertising Federation’s Addy Awards or IABC’s Gold Quill Awards. Some of these contests (including these two) are legit, and truly do reward excellence in communications, writing, and design. Receiving such an award is an honor — even if you have to …

Fixing broken cross-references in Word

I.K. writes to say that we recently edited some files in which the cross-references had become broken. For example, a pointer in Section 2 to Section 9 had became a pointer to Section 0; other references simply displayed as “Error! Reference not found.” The references had “broken” when we split the original file into three sections for editing, and then …

New Chicago Style Q&A posted

For those of you who don’t know, every month the good people at the Chicago Manual of Style publish a series of Q&A about Chicago style–providing As to readers’ Qs, obviously. Reading through the Q&A is a good way to refresh your knowledge on a wide variety of Chicago style points. It also provides an opportunity to laugh evilly at …

I Love My Clients, part 2

Working with a client in Germany this week on a white paper about m-payment systems — that is, systems that give your mobile phone the same functionality as a credit card, so that you can literally wave it in front of a merchant’s credit card terminal and charge something automatically to your card. I’ve been writing a lot of original …

I Love My Clients

I have to share a recent email exchange between me and one of my clients. Client: … wanted to pass along to you a comment by a senior manger here about the write-up that Bethany did. The manager said that the package submitted was one of the top five that he had ever seen. Congratulations. Please let Bethany know. Me: …

Chicago Manual of Style, now on CD-ROM

A.P. writes to say that the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, is now available on CD-ROM. This is in addition to the print edition (of course) and the online version, which is available to paying subscribers only. I find Chicago’s index easier to use than I used to–and I don’t know if that’s because I’m a more experienced editor, …

Understanding “which” versus “that”

Just ran across a nice summary of when to use which and when to use that … which I always find hard to explain. From the Dayton PRSA website: The difference between “that” and “which” can be vague until you get the hang of it. “Which” sets off parenthetical information: stuff that can be lifted right out of the sentence …