Monday, 16 January 2012

eCollegeFinder Blog Award Nominee!

I was surpised and pleased to discover that this blog is nominated for a Top Writing Blog Award from eCollegeFinder - no idea how that happened!

Anyway, it made me decide to offer a few basic suggestions on how students, and anyone else, might improve their writing acumen, whether in academic or creative writing.

Basic Skills
  • Read published work, as a reader first then to absorb how it was written: sentence structure, paragraph length, punctuation and grammar.
  • Allow time to go through and check exam answers in case of silly mistakes (thanks Lynette).
  • Take time to read and understand the questions in forms or exams.
  • Learn the basic rule about the apostrophe in it's: the only time this word needs an apostrophe is to denote 'it is'. If you are showing possession, (the book lost its cover; the car needs its lights fixed) it should always be 'its' - no apostrophe.
  • Be careful of the apostrophe in plurals: it should be the girl's coat if talking about one girl, but should be the girls' coats if talking about more. In plurals, the apostrophe goes after the s.
  • Another one is the difference between your and you're (thanks Paula). The apostrophe is only used to denote a missing letter (a) - so it's: You're looking great (meaning you are...), and Don't forget your books (no apostrophe for possession).
Creative Writing
  • Study the kind of magazine in which you want to be published, or the kind of books you want to write.
  • Write something every day, even if it's only a diary entry.
  • Read widely - that's how to discover different styles of writing.
  • Write in your own voice - you are unique.
  • Never give up your dreams - every piece of writing is a step closer to your goals.
I'll leave you one of my favourite quotes of Chinese wisdom:

"Do not fear going forward slowly, fear only to stand still."



Anonymous said...

Great advice to anyone, Rosemary. I especially like the Chinese saying. I fear that I am often guilty of standing still.

ManicScribbler said...

Great advice, Rosemary.
As a former English teacher and examiner, could I please add in one more golden rule?
Always allow time in exams to read through your work and correct any careless errors - which are so easily made.
That also goes for essays/assignments, of course.
Well done on your award - I'm sure it's very well deserved.
Loved the Chinese proverb.

Gilli Allan said...

Wise words, Rosemary

Frances Garrood said...

I love the Chinese saying!

Frances Garrood said...

PS forgot to say congratulations on the nomination! Well done.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks, Gail - I expect we all are guilty of that!

Thank you, Lynette - that's a good addition as I remember struggling with time to go through the answers in my own exams!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thank you, Gilli!

Thanks, Frances - it's fun to be nominated unexpectedly, even if nothing comes of it!

Joan Fleming said...

Congratulations on the award, Rosemary. The apostrophe is 'flavour of the month' at the moment, spawning articles in newspapers and magazines. You make its (!) use crystal clear.

Joanna said...

Congratulations on the very well-deserved award, Rosemary.
All your advice is perfect and I especially like the part about never giving up on your dreams and the wise Chinese words too.

Vikki said...

Well done on the award! I also really love that Chinese quote

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks, Joan - I know it's something that causes a lot of feeling!

Thank you, Joanna - I always appreciate your support!

Thanks, Vikki - it's an easy little quote to keep in mind!

Diane Fordham said...

Good post Rosemary. Congrats on the nomination. I like that quote too :-)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thank you, Diane!

Paula Martin said...

Congrats on the nomination - and I love all your advice. I might also have added the difference between your and you're in the basic skills).
Great quote too!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thank you, Paula - and thanks for that important reminder which I will add to the list!

Patsy said...

This is good advice, Rosemary. It surprises me how many people try submitting work without having any real idea of the type of thing the magazine publishes. Reading a few issues would help a lot with that.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for that, Patsy! Market research is so important for freelance writers.

Talli Roland said...

Great tips, and congrats on the nomination!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks, Talli!

myra duffy said...

I'm not surprised you've been nominated,Rosemary;well deserved. Keep up the good work with your blog!

edna d'lima said...

Well done Rosemary
god bless