Talking Chairs
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Great writers on writing

Most of my favorite authors have not written anything new in hundreds of years. The Brontes, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, George Eliot—who all wrote in the 19th to early 20th century—have a combined body of work. Because nothing new will be added to that body of work, I must be content with reading their works over and over again. On Oct. 19, something wondrous is happening. My favorite living author, Philip Pullman, is releasing “The Book of Dust,” a new installment in the His Dark Materials series. A new book from an author I adore—this must...
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Should you use an “a” or ...

Determining whether to use “a” versus “an” should not be confusing, but it is. This week, I had a prolonged discussion with a co-worker about why “an MRI” is correct and “a MRI” is not. It turns out that many of us were taught the wrong rules for use of these indefinite articles. I remember being told to use “an” when the word preceding it starts with a vowel and to use “a” when the word preceding it starts with a consonant. The rules actually say to use “an” before any word beginning with a vowel sound and to use “a” before any word...
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World’s most challenging writing t...

One reason I work in corporate communications is that it offers a broad range of writing assignments. From writing the CEO’s blog to email subject lines to medical case studies to advertising copy — I am continually challenged. But . . . there are always those assignments that you dread. Those tedious, soul-crushing projects that leave you staring at the screen, wondering where you went wrong in life. Or the impossibly difficult assignments that leave you staring at the screen, wondering at what point in your career you became a hack. Below are a few assignments that...
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16 email marketing terms PR professional...

Though many PR professionals are fluent in marketing speak, some terms might be unfamiliar. Confusion can especially occur when PR pros’ marketing colleagues use terms related to email and digital marketing or employ abbreviations: “We need to re-think the CTA on that drip campaign because the CTR was abysmal.” Decipher your marketing department’s lingo with this quick guide to common email marketing terms: Inbound marketing — A strategy using content marketing, blogs, events, search engine optimization and social media to create brand awareness and attract new...
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13 annoying verbs

Maybe you overhear someone use them on the train or while you’re waiting in line to buy coffee. Or you see them in a pop-up ad that you can’t close fast enough. Or perhaps your kids use them to purposefully annoy you. No matter how you try to avoid them, they’re out there . . . annoying verbs. Here are a few of most crazy-making verbs that corporate communications has to offer. 1. Conversate — I have no idea where “conversate”came from, but I have seen it in a few corporate emails. Is there something wrong with “talk” or...
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Quiz: How many of these colorful terms d...

Writers can find inspiration for their prose everywhere. Lately I’ve been paying close attention to adjectives—particularly words used to describe color. These words are all over the place: clothing catalogs, travel ads and drink menus, to name a few. Though not used heavily in corporate communications, they can come in handy when you want to paint a clear picture in the mind of your reader. The trick to success is to familiarize yourself with a few of these colorful terms. How many of these colors can you match with the commonly used hues below? (Answers can be used...
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Who are your favorite fictional authors

Fiction is full of interesting characters. For writers, often the most interesting characters are other wordsmiths. After all, who but a writer would best understand another writer? Below are a few of my favorite fictional characters who write—as a vocation or an avocation. They can inspire you with their talent, insights and sense of adventure.   1. Bilbo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” Baggins—the hero from “The Hobbit” and a character in “The Lord of the Rings”—is a hobbit from The Shire. Hobbits are known for their love of peace,...
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Bring life to your writing with anagrams

Metaphors, rhyme, and alliteration can help you paint pictures with words and add sparkle to your copy. In looking for ways to keep my writing clever and engaging, I’ve been playing around with rhetorical devices and figures of speech. I’ve been having the most fun with anagrams. An anagram is a word or phrase that is formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase, using each letter only once (dictionary: indicatory). There are several online anagram resources for novices, including Internet Anagram Server, Word Explorer and Online Anagram Solver....