Sadly, the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) has come and gone without me darkening the doorstep of any of the venues showing the films. I did, however, get to see Snowden when it went into wider release a week or so after its festival screening. The movie is Oliver Stone’s dramatic interpretation of whistleblower Edward Snowden. In 2013, Snowden released to journalists at The Guardian documentation proving that the national Security Association in the US (and other security departments in other countries, including Great Britain and Canada) was illegally spying on regular citizens. Continue reading → 4 Tips on Managing Your Online Reputation
Writing fiction isn’t really my forte. I love trying, and if I try long enough, I might just create something great (or at least, good).
Writing nonfiction is my forte. Explaining the intricacies of any particular subject matter is fun. Yep, you read that right … fun.
Despite that reality, I don’t think the two are as distinct as some might think. In fact, I merge them as much as possible in everything I write. Now, I’m not suggesting that anyone fictionalize work that isn’t meant to be fiction. That would not be good. (Although, I would argue that some instruction manuals read like fiction. Have you ever tried putting something together with the help of instructions that seem to be written for an entirely different product? Uh huh.) Continue reading → How To Write A Video Script
I’ve received a number of requests from clients asking me to edit a thesis. My first response is always to accept. I love reading theses. It takes me right back to my university days full of ideas and long theoretical discussions. The theories and solutions we devised over pints of beer or cups of coffee may not have stood up against a reality check, but they were fun nonetheless. Even writing my own thesis, though definitely arduous at times, was fun. Taking an idea and tracing its possible routes to a variety of logical conclusions is not something I get to do very often today.
When it comes to editing a thesis, however, a whole different set of skills is involved. The most important is communicating what role exactly the editor plays. More so than for any other type of writing, putting expectations down on paper, in a contract, is of supreme importance. Continue reading → How To Edit A Thesis
You want me to write about what?
Yikes! You’ve just been hired to write expertly about a subject you don’t know anything about. What are you going to do? Take a page from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and Don’t Panic!
Remember, being a writer doesn’t mean that you have somehow managed to become an expert on everything. It means that you’ve become an expert on how to approach a subject so that it looks like you’re an expert on everything. Got it?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating lying. Chances are good that someone who knows about the subject will read what you’ve written and call you on it. I’m reminding you that you’re not only an expert writer, you’re an researcher. Writers are used to asking questions and finding answers. That’s the skill that will get you through the task, and at the end, you might find that you are an expert in a new subject area after all. Continue reading → 5 Tips On How To Write Outside Your Comfort Zone
I guess the “I” in that question should really be “we” because everyone needs an editor, even editors!
The issue is that after a while, we become blind to our work. Our eyes skip over the words because our brains know it so well. Having someone else read your work, especially aloud, will bring problems to the forefront really quickly.
I know it’s really hard to let someone see your work before it’s done. So, you don’t have to if that’s a real problem. You can keep working on it till you reach a point of comfort. There are, however, some key times that I really do recommend you hand it over. Continue reading → Why Do I Need An Editor?
When I was setting up my office, two objects were of huge importance – the desk and the lamp. My desk had to be the right size to fit my computer (sitting toward the left side), a notebook (sitting directly to the right of my computer because, believe it or not, I still write most of my posts by hand before typing them into my blog!), and enough room on the far right side of my desk for my calendar. The lamp had to be small with a moveable head and bright white light so that I could work comfortably with the main room light turned off.
Sounds very cozy and organized, doesn’t it? Continue reading → Favourite Writing Haunts
True stories well told. Lee Gutkind
At some point in university, I read Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species. It was lyrical and riveting. Yes, you read that right. I’m talking about a scientific text published in 1859 … and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was not what I’d call a cure for insomnia like so many of the dry, nonfiction texts I read throughout my school years. Have you ever wondered why history textbooks, so full of adventure, misfortune and the ideals on which countries were founded, tend to be written in fairly unimaginative language? Me, too. Well, I don’t have the answer. I do know, however, that it’s entirely possible to write about facts in an exciting style. There’s a reason why we enjoy reading fiction so much. So, in the interest of readability, I’ve pulled together five tips to help you make your nonfiction writing more engaging. Continue reading → 5 Creative Nonfiction Writing Tips
Have you ever asked yourself why you’re compelled to write? What is it that makes you string words together into sentences, paragraphs, pages, whether it’s fiction, newspaper copy or a blog? I’d argue that you (and I) do it because, despite the popularity of video, writing is the dominant method of communication today.
But, writing is also intensely personal. Prior to the invention of the printing press and widespread literacy, information spread by word of mouth. And it was information that was meant for everyone, like edicts, announcements or religious instruction. Imagine trying to keep a diary in the age of oral tradition: Continue reading → Writing as an Act of Rebellion
Given that summer has finally arrived (and because you might need a little rest after those Canada Day celebrations), I thought I’d put together a short list of some of my favourite books (in my first-ever attempt at stop-motion photography!). I admit, these are not your typical summer reads. Instead, they’re intriguing, funny, heartbreaking and worth every minute you spend with them. If you like books that ask you to work a bit, to analyze themes and connect with literary devices, like irony, metafiction, satire or magic realism, then I think you’ll really appreciate these suggestions. Continue reading → My Summer Reading List
Canada Day is almost here, and like me, you’re probably planning to indulge in some celebratory food and drink. For most of us, simply enjoying whatever happens to be in front of us doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. Instead, we all have to whip out our phones and start snapping pics. And why not? Documenting that awesome fare will ensure that it lives forever beyond the boundaries of memory.
Let’s be honest. Many (maybe even most) food and drink photos or descriptions do not exactly leave one’s mouth watering. Quite the opposite, actually. There are even some chefs who have gone so far as to ban photography in their restaurants altogether! But, don’t worry. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re describing your meal in a Facebook post, on Instagram, in a blog or in a magazine article. If you keep these four tips in mind, you will always leave your followers hungry for more. Continue reading → How To Write About Food And Drink