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Apr
15
comment Is my essay on group learning clear and well-organized?
There's a episode of the TV show "Friends" where an uneducated man finds the thesaurus feature on his word-processor. "A button to make me sound smart," he crows, in a bit of naïveté that should make every writer writhe a bit in self-recognition. Don't be that guy! You think Hemingway or Orwell had small vocabularies? Of course not. Strive to use the right word for the situation -- sometimes that word is "feculence" and sometimes that word is "shit".
Apr
15
comment Is my essay on group learning clear and well-organized?
(2) It's not that real-life examples are necessarily persuasive, but they're illustrative, they demonstrate your point. About (3), first, you missed my point, which was that emphatic but non-specific words like "irreplaceable" don't convince anybody: they just tempt the reader to think "Yeah, I think I could replace it." You don't have to avoid those words, but if you use one, you definitely have to back it up (how would you prove something really was irreplaceable?) Second, an essay doesn't exist to show off your vocabulary; your vocabulary exists to improve your essay! (cont.)
Apr
15
comment Our note in footnote of a book
@drozzy -- you are translating a book that has quotation from another source, with the quoter's comments interpolated in the quotations? Yikes. What Robert Graves did in the Claudius books (which of course purported to be mere translations) was mark his own comments with "RG" and put explanations Claudius was supposedly adding to letters and proclamations in square brackets unmarked, but you might want to use initials to distinguish every level of commenting.
Apr
15
comment First conversation scenes I've written (looking for errors, conventions, and improvements according to writing standards)
Yeah, nice. @justkt -- try, as an exercise, to make your passage exactly half as long. I'm not saying you should necessarily leave it like this, but you'll see how little dramatic weight each line is carrying. You can leave all the lines in as soundtrack while you fill in the images the way Lauren has done (masterfully imo); or you can cut it down to the bare essentials of conversation like, say, Hemingway; but the third choice -- a fairly accurate rendition of actual mundane conversation, which is what you've done -- is not a good idea.
Apr
15
awarded  Supporter
Apr
15
comment Potential confusion: referring to home planet as “Earth”
@NickBedford -- Samuel Johnson recommended, "Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out." I wouldn't go that far but I do counsel every writer who asks, or sits still to be told, to trim and tighten your drafts as much as you can, and then a little more.
Apr
15
answered Is my essay on group learning clear and well-organized?
Apr
15
awarded  Commentator
Apr
15
comment Does my first paragraph grab your attention?
It could be "lampshaded": "It's such a cliché to picture your audience naked but ... "
Apr
15
answered Our note in footnote of a book
Apr
15
comment Books to improve writing skills
There are good writing manuals out there, just as there are good sex manuals -- but really, would you rather be reading a manual or learning by trial-and-error?
Apr
15
answered Books to improve writing skills
Apr
15
comment Books to improve writing skills
I would say, read bad books only in small quantities. My mother and I (both of us writers in our own fashions) read the first paragraph of Angels & Demons aloud and howled with derision for 15 minutes. Read a little tiny bit of bad and then go through your own word and notice all the Dan-Browny bits and hack them out.
Apr
15
comment Books to improve writing skills
Stephen King on writing? That's like Bernie Madoff on investing: he may have gotten rich doing it but I wouldn't recommend anyone else try it his way.
Apr
15
answered What makes a good action scene?
Apr
15
comment How to overcome the fact that I can't write?
Did someone tell you you can't write? Your question is on the verge of being beautifully written. "the brutal strength of the need of self-expression" (I would have written "for" instead of the second "of", but that's a nit.) "stories keep invading my head", nice strong image (weakened by the word "bugging", which is not what invaders do). I think you do have the talent and just need someone to point out a few mechanical flaw.
Apr
15
comment Write a resume objective that expresses my desire to hone and sharpen my skills
A good first step might be observe that "hone" and "sharpen" mean the same thing. Recall what Professor Strunk said to his class on the first day: "Omit needless words! Omit needless words! Omit needless words!"
Apr
15
comment Potential confusion: referring to home planet as “Earth”
I know you didn't ask for a critique, but I can't resist. You need to tighten your writing. A lot. Try this: "The sun was high in the sky, not quite as warm as a summer back home on Solum but inviting nonetheless. Pexus was lighter than Solum, so trees were taller and more slender. The deer-like animals that slipped among the trees were graceful and delicate, and the vulpine predators that pursued those deer were like dark blades." See how the writing is specific rather than quantitative, making the reader feel he is there, not reading an almanac about it.
Mar
29
comment Common words to avoid when writing formally
I hate that. Whenever I read someone using Latinate words just for the heck of it, I want to beat him to death with a hardback copy of Roget's Thesaurus.
Feb
24
awarded  Teacher