Are you a “foodie”—someone with a passion for kitchens and cuisine? Could your passion sustain you through writing reviews of restaurants? Would writing diminish or enhance your love affair with food? If you’re inclined to answer “enhance,” read on.
Author: Barry Willis (Barry Willis)
A substantial niche of the publishing industry known as “enthusiast” titles, automotive magazines are excellent sources for learning how to write concise, comprehensive, and entertaining reviews. Every month, Road and Track and Car and Driver run multiple reviews of new cars—each piece describing the vehicle’s concept, place in the overall market, fit, finish, features, handling, price, and value.
Historical upheavals and gut-wrenching personal conflicts aren’t the only kinds that keep readers turning the pages. Almost as important are small-scale conflicts— for example, political differences between friends or lifestyle differences between relatives.
Each genre of writing has a timeframe, its temporal setting—for news, product reviews, press releases, and nearly all corporate writing; the timeframe is the present. Anything else—celebrity profiles, short stories, screenplays and stage plays, novels—can have any sort of timeframe you wish. A story about a Civil War soldier can be told in the present tense, as if it’s a thriller...
As all high school graduates know—or are supposed to know—in modern English, double negatives are considered at best improper and at worst, indicative of semi-literacy. “I don’t have none” is an ungrammatical response to a question such as “Do you have any money?” Even more ungrammatical are “stacked” negative elements, such as “I don’t have none never.”
Every piece of writing is founded on a point of view, or “POV” in screenwriters’ parlance. A story’s point of view may be objective or subjective, from inside or outside depicted events—sometimes called “interiority” and “exteriority” by writing teachers—and may have a singular perspective or multiple perspectives.
Here’s a snippet of an October 21 CNN news report about the debunked theory that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory, intended as a potent biological weapon:
Awkward sentence construction interferes with narrative flow in every kind of prose, from news reporting to fiction. Sometimes it’s unintentional on the part of harried or wooden-eared writers, and sometimes it’s a conscious attempt to adhere to a publication’s “house style.”
Feet, feat, and fete: English is riddled with homophones, words that are pronounced alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings. In this case: your pedal extremities, an achievement, and a celebration—all concepts so wildly divergent that it would be difficult to mistake one for the other, unless you are relying on your word processor’s spell-check function to make sure you have used the right one.
The Star Trek mission statement—“to boldly go where no one has gone before”—has been criticized many times by grammarians who insist that it’s wrong because inserting the adverb “boldly” between “to” and “go” yields a so-called “split infinitive.”