This page is an archive from 1998 of a site that now lives at penmachine.com, and was used during a January 2003 presentation. I have changed nothing other than adding this note.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
PHONE (604) 439-9465 FAX (604) 434-5092
Spelling for the World Wide Web
ords are my passion.I make my living as a wordsmith of English, which is probably the world's most versatile (and infuriating) language.
This Web site introduces you to my skills and experience, refers you to some of my current and past clients, and -- to entice you back -- includes an occasionally-updated feature that you can only find here, and which will help you write better, no charge.
The next few paragraphs describe my approach to working with the language, and why I think it's a good one. If you find this site so thrilling that you just can't get enough, you can read more of my blather elsewhere.
Good writing is important.Written language might be our greatest achievement. Without it we would have no Shakespeare, of course, but also no Great Wall of China, no theory of natural selection, no quantum mechanics, no constitutional democracy, no television, no antibiotics, and no footprints on the moon. No Internet either.
I think a tool that powerful should be used properly. William Strunk, in his classic book The Elements of Style, wrote that:
"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell."
I agree with him. In fact, good writing is most often invisible. The best written words, whether on paper or on a screen, are a direct link to another mind, like telepathy.
Read Chaucer or Dante, Austen or Dickens, Toni Morrison or E. Annie Proulx -- their stories come from inside their heads right into yours. Read the Talmud or the New Testament or the Quran, and some would say you read the mind of God.
It's not all so highbrow, though. Read the memo management just sent around. You may wonder why they'd bother wasting paper reminding you that coffee stir sticks can clog the sink, for instance. But if they wrote that memo well, you know they've noticed the problem (the clogged sink) and would like people to do something about it (not drop stir sticks down the drain).
Good writing isn't easy. Even though a billion people may speak English, only some of them can write. Of those, most do not write well.
Whatever your business -- publishing a magazine, creating computer software, or building cabinets -- you need good writing. Better writing can attract more customers, make you more efficient, and solve problems.
Spyglass Device Mosaic
Page BBEdited on 17-Aug-98