Professionals, hacks and amateurs – @thisisseth

The amateur contributes with unfiltered joy… The professional shows up even when she doesn’t feel like it… A hack is a professional who doesn’t care. Another insightful post from Seth Godin: Serviceable is for hacks. Memorable and remarkable belong to professionals and hard-working amateurs. Read Seth’s full post, here. Photo by Evan Dvorkin on Unsplash

The Inciting Incident in nonfiction

The Inciting Incident, or Call to Action, is central to fiction and storytelling, but does it have a place in nonfiction? Especially in straightforward commercial writing? Of course it does. Everything is storytelling. Here’s Steven Pressfield (The War of Art) on the topic. Photo by Marc Kleen on Unsplash

Sacrificial sentences with @execupundit

The story of a recent document: First draft: 20 paragraphs Second draft: 17 paragraphs… Read the full cull, here. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Reading is #Writing

If you write, you must read both widely and deeply. Here’s an important post from Execupundit’s Michael Wade: If you read when time is available, then you have placed little emphasis on reading because time is rarely available.  Add to that the idea that reading is goofing off or strictly a form of leisure and […]

Where bad grammar guides come from?

Why are there so many poor grammar and style guides, out there? One common problem is that they simply parrot the errors of the past, losing the subtlety of the original along the way. Presumably, in the name of clarity. Here’s an interesting piece from the Economist on 18th century grammarian Robert Lowth, whose prejudices […]

Do you want truth or coherence? #writing

It seems we prefer coherence to inconvenient truth, according to a 2019 research paper covered in the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest. That helps to explain why a political party (in particular) can risk an outrageous, but plausible, lie. Even when followed by a less “interesting” or coherent truth, it’s often the tasty lie that […]

The oldest story ever told?

Is the oldest story ever told, 37,000 years old? It’s hard to date hand-me-down tales in the oral tradition, but The Times reports on a theory that aligns an Australian Aboriginal legend with a volcanic eruption. We’ve previously pointed to this research that traced some Indo-European folk-tales back to the Bronze Age. Photo by Gary Saldana on Unsplash

Footnotes as foot soldiers #contentmarketing

… in the disinformation wars. Here’s an interesting take on the power of a well-deployed footnote… More than ever, we need what this tool provides: accountability and transparency. “Fiddling with footnotes” is the kind of hygienic practice that our era of information pollution needs — and needs to be shared as widely as possible. Footnotes […]

Stories, villains and evolutionary psychology

Here’s an interesting piece on the evolutionary importance of baddies in stories. Far from being escapist titillation, Kjeldgaard-Christiansen thinks that creating these tales may in fact have an evolutionary purpose. Taking these short trips into the dark sides of our natures, and seeing good triumph over evil, helps us to reaffirm our altruistic tendencies, leading […]

In pursuit of magic

Magic, marketing and anomalistic psychology – @RogerDooley, @MattLTompkins

Magic and marketing both rely on directed attention. The conjurer directs the audience away from the palmed coin while the marketer directs it towards the big, shiny, buy button. But attention is a fickle animal. If you’ve never seen the video below, I urge you to watch it now. It’s just 1:21, but it’s impossible […]

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