Combining creativity with productivity Volume 1, Issue 2 August 2010 Working with words A newsletter for writers There is always something to write about I remember some advice given me My own writing genre inclines and the Philippines – both coun- early in my career that there is towards topical events verging on tries in which I have lived and always something happening the ―documentary‖ style rather than worked – and which I have been around you that is worth writing fiction which still remains a chal- commenting on for more than 10 about and it is advice I have sought lenge for me. I am working on that years (since 1977 in the case of to follow. I have always found it one but don’t hold your breath. Taiwan, and 2001 in the case of the good practice, no matter what else Philippines). comes along, to find some time July proved to be an extremely each week to find some topic about busy month finalizing the editing This coming month I hope to have For more than twenty years, which to write. of two major projects for an inter- time to refine the guide book on since quitting the Department of national organization plus local effective writing that I published Foreign Affairs, Mike lived and Many of us spend at least some work which allowed me to keep to earlier in the year and which, with worked in Asia running his own part of the week at the keyboard my own schedule of writing every experience of use, needs a little research consultancy, first in processing words, either for our- week. tweaking in places to make it easier Taiwan and then in the Philip- selves or for our employer and just to follow. Hopefully I can com- pines. He has now returned to However, I have had little time to like any other task, we need to plete that task during August. enjoy Australia with his family write for myself other than my while continuing with his writing keep in shape. Blogging has made it all so much easier to do so. monthly commentaries on Taiwan Mike Clancy and editing. Mike now makes his living as a full-time freelance writer and The overlooked office suite editor as well as mentor, encour- aging young people especially to When was the last time you opened develop their writing and com- Microsoft Works? Works is a simple munication skills. office or home application suite that comes with your (Windows) operating Mike is an experienced eco- system. nomic and political analyst and specialises in the development A few years back Works was sold as editing of complex reports. He is a stripped-down version of Office. also now into training and has Now Microsoft gives it away for free. developed his own course in Many people never get around to effective writing - combining opening it and dive straight into MS- creativity with productivity. It is Office. offered both in face to face classes as well as by remote That is a pity since Works provides an learning. The manual is freely ideal means of cutting your teeth on available to readers of this news- the common applications. The inter- letter. Check it out at face is bright and colourful and in a www.workingwtithwords.com.au format that is guaranteed to appeal to young and old who are sometimes Subscribe to this monthly news- base application, all of which bear The word processor provides tem- intimidated by the no-nonsense ap- letter direct from the website or uncanny resemblances to earlier ver- plates for brochures, birthday cards, proach of Office. by emailing Mike at: sions of Office software. event flyers —even grocery lists. The email@example.com What is more, unlike Office, Works spreadsheet will allow you to con- comes with its own menu from which Perhaps this is not surprising. What struct not only a financial worksheet However if you do not wish to this means though is that perhaps, you but also a fitness tracking schedule, you can select the application you receive it, just send us an email have all your initial needs on your household records and a vehicle log want to use or choose a template for a reply with the word “remove” in computer already and you may want particular task. It is ideal for home or book among other things. the title and we will do the rest. school use. For young people learning to check out what you get for free (or computer basics, it is an effective with the initial purchase) before You can read more on this topic in teaching/learning tool. spending hundreds of dollars on the Effective Writing or online at latest software, much of which you www.workingwithwords.com.au Works provides you with a word may never use. processor, a spreadsheet and a data- Recent blogs from Mike Before returning to Australia, Mike spent more than 20 years living and working in Asia and is well-known for his insight- ful analysis. His most recent monthly commentaries on developments in Taiwan and the Philippines — both countries in which he has lived and worked can be found on his writing blog: http://mike-clancy.blogspot.com/ Michael Clancy & Associates The deal is done (Taiwan) click here to read PO Box 1043 Pacific Square The different faces of corruption (Philippines) click here to read Qld, 4218 ABN 73 279 729 004 You can read this newsletter online at http://thecreativegenie.blogspot.com/ Volume 1, Issue 2 August 2010 combining creativity with productivity The importance of punctuation The appendixes to Effective nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjec- Colons and semicolons lon can be used to turn the two Writing provides a succinct list tives); some are always lower separate sentences into a single of common writing errors. It is case (unless used as the first or We will not explain the use of sentence. not a complete list but rather a last word in a title). These include full-stops (periods) and commas compilation of some the definite and indefi- here. Most people appear to un- Care needs to be taken that sen- of those I come across nite articles and preposi- derstand the basics but many tences do not become too long or most frequently as an tions (unless they are people get into trouble when it too convoluted but often the editor. A handy refer- stressed); other times a comes to using colons and semi- single sentence makes for more ence to have is the decision is called for. If colons. fluid writing that by coming to a Oxford A-Z of Gram- this is likely to cause a full stop. In sentences containing mar and Punctuation. problem for you, opt for Colons have three basic uses. multiple clauses they can also be This is available from sentence style headings. They can introduce lists (both used together with commas to most bookstores. inline lists as well as ordered and make the flow of ideas easier to One other aspect of us- unordered lists); they are often understand. Use of capitals ing capitals is worth used to introduce a quotation and mentioning, especially in they are also used in a similar One quick rule to determine When it comes to the context of e-mail. manner to commas and semi- where to use what, is to read the headings, you should understand Some people use capitalisation as colons to differentiate between passage aloud and determine the difference between Sentence a means of emphasis. However, the clauses of a sentence. A co- where the natural breaks are to style capitalisation and Head- capitalisation has also come to be lon is considered the strongest be found. A comma represents line Style Capitalisation. In associated with anger or displeas- sentence break and is commonly one beat; a semicolon, two beats; sentence-style capitalization only ure. ―PLEASE READ THE AT- used as a break between two a colon, three beats; and a full the first word in a title, the first TACHMENT TO THIS E- main clauses. stop, four beats. word in a subtitle, and any proper MAIL‖ may to you mean no more names are capitalized. Headline Colons are also used to differen- Just look at the preceding sen- than ―hey, don’t forget to read the style is a little more complex. In tiate parts of a heading and cap- tence to see how commas and attachment since it’s important‖. this style, many of the heading tion (such as ―Table 3: Recent semicolons work together. However, your reader could eas- words are capitalised – but not ily read into it ―You idiot, why growth rates‖). Sometimes the pipe (|) is called upon to fulfil ..More next month all. There are no hard and fast have you not opened the attach- conventions, rather it is more a ment‖. this role. matter of appearance, emphasis Be careful! Where two sentences are part of and grammar (and of course a common idea, the second consistency). Some words are building on the first, the semico- always capitalised (such as “If you cannot say what you mean, you will never mean what you say” The origins of the above quote are obscure but it proved to be one of Volume, manuscript and copy editing the most memorable lines from the movie epic, The Last Emperor. In writing for any audience, it is a good maxim to keep in mind. Manuscript development Communication involves the ability of the author to relate essential Assistance with theses and dissertations facts and ideas to the reading audience in a manner that the reader is able to understand and then, if needed, act upon. Writing style should Corporate presentations, manuals and reports convey this ability to communicate; indeed it is the hallmark of any- one in the teaching, research or knowledge management professions. Tutoring and course presentations —effective writing Dr. Michael Clancy is a published author, freelance writer, researcher Staff creativity and productivity training and editor who has lived and worked in Asia for more than 30 years. He has now returned to Australia and has his home on the Queensland For a no-obligation discussion and quotation please e-mail Mike at Gold Coast. He travels between Australia, the Middle East and Asia firstname.lastname@example.org or skype: MikeClancy2 undertaking research and editing assignments for the ILO, various UN In-house web design (content, architecture and graphic design) at bodies and the Asian Development Bank. competitive rates through our associates. Just email Mike or go direct As an editor, Mike believes that the best output can be obtained when to email@example.com. writers, researchers and editors work closely together in the develop- ment and delivery of the final product. Mike firmly believes that an important role for the editor to play is that of ―author’s advocate‖ who, while staying true to the author’s intent, looks at any piece as would a general reader. His suggestions to author’s are often made with this role in mind. Mobile:_61 (0) 420750171 Mike is always available to assist writers and researchers with any E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org queries they may have. Prices are reasonable, professionalism is as- Web: www.thecreativegenie.com.au sured.