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January, 2008

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A Cry For Clarity
Acronyms and heiroglyphs don't cut 'Net paycheques
By  Eliott Fields

Many readers tend to find the new English shorthand of hieroglyphics disconcerting.
s the English language falling apart or is the Internet offering new opportunity?

Many Internet neophytes, especially with email, tend to find the new English shorthand of acronyms and post-modern hieroglyphics disconcerting. Using such lofty items as lol, rotfl, :-), lmao, brb, wysiwyg, ad absurdum, can oft cause confusion. Not all readers understand such terms and with the global community as an audience it is more important than ever to be clear and concise.

It's fine to muck about writing to friends, relatives and certain colleagues. But to make a living writing on the 'Net this type of type isn't exactly ripe.

A simple example: r u home @ 8? This might make sense to a friend via text messaging, but precious little else. Ernest Hemingway, while carousing in Cuba and corresponding with his editor, certainly wouldn't have known what rotfl meant. Recently I was reading a novel that had nothing to do with the Internet but contained the sentence "I went to the URL and obtained the information" as part of the dialogues.

The term URL is ambiguity personified. How many people actually know what URL stands for, and how many readers are thrown completely from the flow of the story by that single line? — one and millions, respectively.

URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. If we dissect the dialogue, using proper English, one could come to conclusion that the character went to a uniform supply store to find information about clothing.

A few years ago a Bennington College English professor, who shall remain nameless, believed that with the introduction and growth of the Internet, email, text messaging and instant communication, the elements of the English language would be lost on younger generations and that proper English writing would begin to degenerate.

What he could not prognosticate was that the Internet would teem with high-quality online publications, such as IN, that would provide educational resources over and above what comprehensive university English courses could possibly provide, and also offer opportunities for writers to expand, develop, and yes, earn an income.

Writing for the Internet requires that you know how to properly write and express yourself in a way that is globally understood. Users new to the 'Net will, in most cases, not understand URL, rotfl, -:), lol, etc., so it's essential that writers continue to employ actual English for articles, poetry or books.

Here are 10 books useful in combining command of English with the Internet writing:

1. Writing For The Web, by Crawford Kilian

2. Online Markets For Writers: How To Make Money By Selling Your Writing On The Internet, by Anthony Tedesco and Paul Tedesco 

3. Write On Target: The Direct Marketer's Copywriting Handbook, by Donna Baier Stein and Floyd Kemske 

4. Writing.Com Creative Internet Strategies To Advance Your Writing Career, by Moira Anderson Allen

5. Standards For Online Communication, by Joann T. Hackos and Dawn M. Stevens

6. Writing For The World Wide Web, by Victor J. Vitanza

7. Cybertalk That Sells, by Herschell Gordon Lewis

8. Cyberwriting: How To Promote Your Product Or Service Online, by Joseph G. Vitale

9. Connections: A Guide To On-Line Writing, by Daniel Anderson, Bret Benjamin and Bill Paredes

10. Sales Letters That Sizzle, by Herschell Gordon Lewis

Good luck in your writing. IN Icon

Eliott Fields is a University of Toronto English student learning the ropes and struggling to complete his first book, Trevor Milstone And The Underground Adventure. Email:


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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
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But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
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To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
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Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

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