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WORDS - part 2

Good Writing

Spoil chuckers
& other Electronic Friends

You know it when you read it. If someone in your club can write well, cling on to them like grim death. If a friend outside the club can write well, bribe or bully them to join.

The rest of us just have to do the best we can but there are plenty of simple hints:

  • My personal mantra is "KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid".
  • Draft text and set it aside for at least one day. Then revise it to make it shorter and more direct.
  • Read it aloud since that shows up clumsy phrasing.
  • Ask someone else to read it and comment … then listen to what they say without arguing. Usually at least half of what they say is right.

Less is generally more and if you want examples of concise writing under pressure read any British newspaper either online or on paper.

Just remember, however, that practicality rules. It is better to get the report of an event online tomorrow than to turn in beautifully polished prose a week later.

Use a spell-checker. Prepare the words on a word-processor, then copy and paste them into your website.

But do not trust a spell-checker blindly. Your may have spelled perfectly … the wrong worm. (Ooops!)

In Britain  set your spell-checker to "UK English". Microsoft Word and many others use "US English" by default.

Ask someone else to proof read the text. Do that before it goes online.

If you do not have any friends (!) or willing critics is there anything else you can do to improve? Well for a start MS Word can not only spell check but also come up with mysterious but quite helpful green underlines which highlight what they reckon is poor grammar.

Now I know what you are thinking - I don't want some American software telling me how to write English after all I am English and ... All I can say is that I am British too and yet I am using it now so I reckon it is worth considering.

Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum. - Graycie Harmon

Editing Other People's Words

Don't Wait for Copy to Arrive

Don't be afraid to edit.

A handful of writers object to their precious words being changed. Darned few of those a great writers. Most are just precious. The majority of people accept the need to make changes in what they write. No one likes the process, but usually the authors recognise that the result is an improvement which makes them look good.

Don't, of course, change the meaning of a piece. Do make whatever changes are needed to best serve the readers. Is that paragraph clear? If not would restructuring help? What about a change in punctuation? Split in into two or more paragraphs?

Try to get the agreement of the author to your suggestions and never publish without their consent - however reluctantly given!

Be practical

Let's get it straight: a webmaster cannot wait for people to offer articles and news. That hardly ever happens. You need to inspire, coax, encourage, bully people into contributing. Don't beg! Don't twist arms and make people feel guilty.
  • "Jim, that event on xyz you are organising looks interesting, give me some hints about what to expect … interesting. Hey, that makes me even keener to come. Why don't you share what you've just told me with everyone?"
  • "Jean, your award-winning film had a remarkable series of aerial shots. What's your secret?"
  • "Will, you've been making movies since 9.5mm days. We all know how the technology has moved on, but what about the content of the films? Is it true no one made drama because lip synch was so difficult? They did?! Tell all …"
You need "reporters" to gather information. Who can be relied on to keep track of members' films in outside competitions and report on that? Who loves trawling techie websites and magazines might write an occasional piece on trends in the hobby?

Can you find someone to do interviews with fellow members? That quiet, sympathetic older lady perhaps?

If you are not sure of your own skills as a writer are there people who would become your advisers?

It's a cliché that everyone has a story to tell ... people just need to know you are interested and they talk. Asking them to write it down is a small step then - after all they have rehearsed it all in speech to you.

A few people really cannot write or know only too well that they write poor English. If that makes them reluctant, tell them you - or your colleague who teaches English - will be happy to go over their drafts with them …

If necessary record an interview and write an article based on what they say. That is usually credited with "as told to".

Reasons to be cheerful

Find some

Sound enthusiastic about everything. Force yourself to look on the bright side. Go on. You CAN do it! Present club news in as upbeat a way as you can.

If your lot lose an interclub competition go for:


"The rival films were great. We cheered them and learned. Next time we'll be at that standard too. Loved their quirky documentary on …"
But don't overdo the "typical British diffidence". Look on the positive side. You are always trying to "sell" the club to website visitors and being upbeat can boost the morale of existing members. Write as if you are a glass-half-full person:
not "only five people turned up to discuss the script"  but "five of us brainstormed the script";

not "we meet in the tin shed behind the church"  but "our cosy premises are like a hidden preview cinema, nestling behind the church."

Do not actually lie - but put the best face on everything.

Right arrow. Go to Words part 1

Website Makeover Guides - Introduction

What Should the Content Be? | Navigation | Planning Navigation | Anchors & Links | Words | Getting Pictures | Getting & Using Pictures
Processing Pictures | Video | Presentation Pictures | Colours | Layout Principles | Layout Schemes | Fonts | What is SEO?
Search Engine Factors | Check Your Search Ranking | Stay Legal | Website Health Check | Website No Goes more to come ...

A Beginner's Guide to Creating a Club Website with Weebly

Don't Panic! | Signing up to Weebly | Making your first (elegant) page | Adding more pages and navigation
Adding pictures and words | Creating a complex Coming Soon Page | Adding Forms, Emails, Maps and Videos.

IAC Competition to find the Best Club Website 2011


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Page updated on 16 January 2011
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