Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thinking About Style

Maya Angelou with Bloomberg and Nadler in the background. This picture was taken as part of a government event, the commemoration of the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City on October 5, 2007. Therefore it is in the public domain.

Thinking About Style

I am reading Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies by Suzanne Gilad. I enjoy reading this kind of book. It is for my own entertainment. Writersinthesky mentioned it on Twitter. . Words fascinate me, especially written words.

Reading Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies has made me think of some of the stylistic choices I make in writing this blog. I sometimes write my posts out longhand then type them up in Wordpad before posting them. I want to keep the process as simple as possible, so I don't use Wordperfect which has a grammar and spellchecker built in. This probably leads to more grammar and spelling mistakes. But, it also makes the style much more personal. There is a certain charm in not being quite perfect.

I realize that my grammar is not perfect. I try and focus on using grammar to provide clear statements about what I am writing about. I am not as much concerned about the finer technical points of grammar and structure. Like most bloggers, I don't have an assistant or editor to check what I am writing.

There are a few stylistic points which I would like to make. I don't indent paragraphs, instead, I put in a line break between paragraphs. I also break my posts into sections with headings that are bolded. I think this makes it easier for people to read my blog. I put in my own paragraph and line breaks using html.

I also write out the full url of any links which I put in. This is because of a style of web searching which called stripping. I like to see the whole url when I am going to a blog or website. This allows me to parse the url into sections; I can then use pieces of the url to go to different parts of a website. I also can use various search commands to find information about a website; the url command allows me to find all the pieces of a website, the link command allows me to find who is linking to a web site, and the document type at the end of the url allows me to search for specific types of documents attached to a specific website.

I try to include an image with each post I write. This is usually of something writing, publishing, or library related. I often use Wikimedia ; or public domain image websites listed in Wikipedia. . I try to use public domain images as much as possible.

Somtimes, I will include a Youtube video. This is usually something which is directly related to the post which I am writing about. For example if I am writing a review of a Neil Gaiman book, I might try and find a Youtube video of Neil Gaiman reading from the book which I am reviewing.

My writing is also not formal. I am not writing to have my work published in magazines. Although recently, I have submitted a book review to The Society of Midnight Wanderers, book reviews to the Book Review Blogcarnival, and to some of the Blogcatalog threads:

I have also been picked up with links from several different authors for the reviews I have written. This is a link from Slow Train To Arcturus by Dave Freer and Eric Flint.

I may have to reconsider the formality of my writing style. David Henderson who wrote The Media Savvy Leader Visibility, Influence, and Results in a Competitive World sent me a copy of his book for reviewing purposes. I was very surprised and pleased with this. I also enjoyed the book a lot.

I am constantly trying to improve the quality of my writing. I don't mind if people criticize me for the content that I am writing. I want to improve considerably. This is one of the reasons I am reading Copyrighting & Proofreading for Dummies. I have read numerous other books on writing and reviewed a few of them here. One of my favorites was Writing Begins With The Breath by Laraine Herring.

Style is of course a matter of personal taste.


Mohamed Taher said...

You are a Guru: Offering so much to reflect, so little time we have and they say time flies.
I will continue thinking about style in all that I do.
Best wishes.

Book Calendar said...

Thank you for the praise. I do appreciate it.