Tag Archives: writing style

Your Copy Sucks: Touching On Purple Prose

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Fountain pen, close-upPurple is the color of a cloak which your words should never wear, treading on a barren stair in the dark to meet a woman whom they know is from a city they’ve never been and should not dare make haste toward.

Or, in other words, quit the #@$%ing purple prose already.

Purple prose means writing that is way too flowery, effusive, extravagant, or showy. It’s a phrase used to describe works or passages that are out of place or just plain stupid. The poet Horace coined the phrase (sort of) and the lesson is don’t ever, ever go overboard.

“Elaborate poetry?” you may ask. “Florid diatribes? Surely these never appear in my businesslike writing of business!”

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Your Copy Sucks: Talkin’ British

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Letter ULately a lot of folks have asked me questions that come down to a matter of Britishocity. Is it “gray” or “grey?” Is it “theatre” or “theater?” It’s okay if you’re confused about these things because, to be honest, you probably had little to do with dumping a bunch of Twinnings into Boston Harbor. Or is that Harbour?

We’ve whined about the differences between American and British English before, but spellings are a whole ‘nother animal. Or is that animaul? (Hint: it’s not.) If you care, here are some commonly mixed-up spellings that differ across the pond.
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Your Copy Sucks: Ode to the Op-Ed

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portrait of a mid adult man with his thumb on his lips

As PR professionals, we often deal with placing a client’s op-ed with what we hope will be a reputable, widely read publication or platform. However, as anyone who reads small-town newspapers for fun and schadenfreude knows, many op-eds are pretty much unreadable. One can only assume they’ve been printed because there wasn’t any news about angry, window-smashing McDonald’s customers that week.

While I was back in my hometown for winter break, I came across an op-ed that must be shared here with some (I hope) small suggestions for improvements so that you and your clients can see what makes a good op-ed and what makes a bad op-ed.
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Your Copy Sucks: How to Pitch a Blogger

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(CC) flickr // websuccessdiva
(CC) flickr // websuccessdiva

Do you want to know an inside secret on how to pitch a blogger?

Oh man. Lean in close. No, closer. That’s it. Almost.

You have to talk to them like they’re a human being.

I know, it’s crazy. It doesn’t have much to do with the length of your pitch or the “Hi” instead of “Hello” in your salutation. It doesn’t have anything to do with how many bullet points you have and what Cool Blogger Slang you employ. You just have to talk to them like they’re an actual person, which, gasps all around, they are. (Another crazy fact: journalists are also people. Maybe you should give this a shot with them too?)

Just one rule: talk like a person, treat them like a person. Here’s how to do that.
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So What You’re Really Trying to Say…

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I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I feel that people don’t understand “Sarcastic” language. I have been in numerous situations where I have had people really think that I was serious about what I said.

Honestly, do you really think that I, or anyone, is that dumb? It’s even gotten to the point where during one of my reviews I was told I have “holes” in my head. Really? Lighten up people.

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