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WRITER'S LIFE
Nonfiction
January, 2008


Free Writing Resources!

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.
I
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: jmaccount@canada.com

 


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IN This Issue
Part III: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part II: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part I: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal
Part II: Researching Nonfiction
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