The second major difference is in the source material for the writing. Again looking at creative writing, the writer may have no particular source information upon which to base their work. As the term suggests, the author may create the work from their own minds. Whilst some of the details or facts that a creative writer may use will be factual and could be checked, in the main, it is an art form. Not so with technical writing, which should be regarded as a discipline. All of the facts and information contained within a technical writer's work should be traceable, and generally sourced from a piece of technical or design information for the product, system or process being described. All of the technical writer's source data needs to come from an authoritative source. For example, a writer has been tasked with producing a set of repair instructions for a washing machine. The first thing the writer will need is a

set of plans or drawings from the manufacturer for the machine. If these are not available, the writer will need a specification from the designers to tell him what the machine does and how it operates. This is the writer's source data upon which all of the work can be based to communicate the necessary information to the user. Sometimes, the writer may start with the product itself and figure out how it works and how it is built or maintained. This is still source data of sorts; the writing is still related back to the product with no creative input. A third major difference is in the liability that a writer can bring upon themselves or their company as a result of producing and publishing a piece of work. You may have been reading the previous paragraph wondering why you need to be so rigorous just for a washing machine. This is where you find out. Imagine the writer…

Do you know what plagiarism is? Have you ever been guilty of it? Did you know you were doing it at the time? Do you know what copyright is? The rise of writing as a hobby, especially internet blogging, has opened the door to plagiarism on an almost industrial scale. If you look 'plagiarize' up in the dictionary, the definition is "verb: take (the work or idea of someone else) and pass it off as one's own"*. * taken from the Oxford Compact English Dictionary. While the copying of a few sentences of a writer's work may not be illegal if the author is being quoted (or cited) and is credited as having written the text, the copying generally becomes plagiaristic when someone attempts to pass the material off as their own, or fails to credit the original author. Do you remember ever sitting in a school exam and trying to see your friend's answers so you could write them

down and get the marks? That's a form of plagiarism, albeit a minor example: or is it minor? It becomes more complicated when you look at the rise of plagiarism in universities and colleges. The internet gives unfettered access to information that students can use and abuse at will, with lecturers and teachers almost powerless to detect it. This downside of internet access does, though, have to be balanced with the advantages that access to such huge amounts of information can bring for the learning process. Banning access to the internet may hamper, more than improve, the standard of education in this respect. Nevertheless, plagiarism needs to be addressed and limited wherever possible. Many websites are now openly offering material that you can buy, pre-written, to pass off as your own for university and college essays and submissions. Despite the fact that legally speaking, you may not be infringing copyright as you will have agreed that you have full rights…

Verbs One of the most common writing pitfalls writers is the use of passive versus active verbs. When speaking, most people tend to use active verbs without thinking, but when writing, many revert to a passive approach. This is a more formal style, which although suitable for some types of writing, can be boring and lifeless to the reader. To keep your writing lively and interesting, you should look to use active verbs in the majority of your writing. Technical writing also favours the use of active verbs, sometimes called 'the active voice' as it removes ambiguity from the writing and assists with a reader's understanding of the content. You can generally spot a passive verb in a sentence by the other words used. The sentence will probably contain words like 'were', 'was', 'been' or 'being'. For example: Your letter has been filed. (passive) I have filed your letter. (active) The customer will be informed. (passive) We will inform the

customer. (active) Use your thesaurus mercilessly. Many verbs are overused or don't convey the subtlety of what you, as the writer, may be trying to get across. The English language is rich in vocabulary and you should exploit it. Most verbs will have alternatives that convey a subtly different shade of the action you are describing. For example: This is fine, but is relatively lifeless and uninteresting for the reader. Try: He mumbled... He shouted... He whispered... He boomed... He stuttered... He sobbed... In all of these variations, it is still clear that something was said, but the manner in which it was expressed is also now evident. Adjectives and Adverbs Many experienced writers believe that adjectives and adverbs are overused, especially by inexperienced writers. In general, you should monitor your use of adjectives and ensure that they are kept to a minimum. Use adjectives only where you believe they are necessary and where they add definite detail to your…

Press release are a great way to let the entire internet world about something big that just happened or something big that is about to happen. Maybe your organization has just won a major award for something. Or maybe you are about to launch a new product. Press releases get indexed by the search engines and help you to achieve your number one goal and that is to drive traffic to your site or sites. Personally I use press releases just before I am about to start another large article series. Many of my series are 10 to twenty articles long. Why Should You Write Them Writing press releases can be very beneficial to your business in so many ways. Many editors will look at your press release. If they feel it is going to get people interested then they will publish it into their ezines. By doing that you are ensuring yourself free traffic. It is also another link

to your website and most of us know what that means. The more positive links you have to your site the more times the search engines are going to pick it up thus moving it higher in the rankings. Finally I would like to think you are running an honest no scam business. By issuing press releases you can keep your business fresh. Your loyal customers will see the growth and remain loyal while knew customers will realize that this is possibly something they should be looking at. How Should I Write Them. Well practise does make perfect. The more you write the better you will get at it. The most important thing you have to remember is that a press release is not meant to be an advertisement. If you want to put it out that way chances are it will get rejected and even if it does get released publishers won’t be interested because they are looking for…

Punctuation is a subject that many people find difficult but is very important for a writer to understand, master and apply correctly. Not all of the sections here relate to punctuation marks specifically, but the subjects are related. Full stops / Periods Full stops, also known as ‘periods’ in American English, are used to mark the end of a sentence. An additional use is to highlight an abbreviation when expressed in lower case. Abbreviations expressed in upper case should not normally use full stops. For example: e.g. or i.e. or Apr. (for April) CNN, RSVP, etc. Commas Commas are used to indicate that a pause is required in the sentence. The pause indicated by a comma is only slight, with longer, more significant pauses indicated by colons and semi-colons. Commas can also be used to separate items in a simple list within a sentence, for example. my favourite authors are Hiaasen, Brookmyre, Rankin and Forsyth. They can also be used to

provide a form of parenthesis, similar to the use of brackets, to include additional, but not essential, information. In this application, like the use of bracketed parenthesis, the sentence should still make sense if the phrases between the commas are removed. The previous two sentences here are examples of this usage. Semi-colons and Colons Semi-colons and colons, like commas, can be used to indicate the need for a pause in the sentence. They can also be used to indicate that additional related information is to follow the preceding part of the sentence. In general, the two parts of the longer sentence could be stated as sentences in their own right. It is never necessary to use either a semi-colon or a colon although you may choose to use them to make your sentences more readable. Apostrophes The apostrophe must be one of the most misused punctuation marks in the English language. They have only two specific uses: to imply…

If you're involved in the running or design of a website these days, you will undoubtedly have wondered at some time how to increase the traffic to your pages. Bloggers all over the world are wondering every day how they can propel their blog pages to internet stardom by gaining huge amounts of visitor traffic. Although the art of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is still largely a black art to many amateur webmasters, there seems to be a growing consensus of opinion among those that specialise in SEO that content, and specifically high quality written content, is one of the main keys to gaining traffic today. Here's how it seems to work in broad terms. A web page needs to have a reason for being there. The big search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo prefer that reason to be the distribution of good quality, written informational content. When the search engines come across good quality content in large quantities,

they will rank the web page or site higher than others with lesser quantities or lesser quality content. This means that the higher ranked web page will appear higher up in the search engine result listings for web surfers searching on the relevant keywords; the ultimate goal being to arrive at the top of that list, and stay there. That isn't the only criteria though, the Google algorithm, for example, apparently also takes outgoing and incoming links into consideration. So what does this mean for the writer? In simple terms, this means that the role of the writer is of increasing importance in the production of web pages and specifically written web page textual content. Having lots of text and articles is no longer enough though. The content has to be well written, well researched and of a generally very high quality to compete in today's SEO stakes. This places the experienced writer in a prime position to gain work…

Article marketing has become an accepted and successful means of generating website traffic or establishing yourself as a niche expert on the internet. Looking at the forums for web copywriters and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialists, there is still a lot of confusion in many people's minds on exactly how to embark on this. You need a strategy. This article will hopefully give you some pointers on how to start, what you need to think about and what you should ask yourself. Who do you want to be? This may seem a ridiculous question, but many article writers will tell you that they wish they'd thought about this before they started. This is really about deciding whether you want your articles to promote a website or to promote you. If you're promoting a website, do you really want to use your own name? Would a pen name be better? What would you gain from using your own name, or what

would the drawbacks be? If you're promoting yourself, then maybe using your real name is the right thing to do. It's imperative though, that you make this choice at the start. Once you've signed up for accounts at article directories and submitted your articles, you're generally stuck with the name you used. It's virtually impossible to change once your articles have been repinted or syndicated all over the internet. What will you write about? Whether you're promoting yourself or a website, you'll need to stick to subjects that are relevant to the niche or subject of the website you are involved in. Again, a common mistake made by many article writers is to branch off into unrelated territory, spawning unrelated links to their website or diluting their own credibility with articles on things that have nothing to do with the core subject. Links established to your website or to you as an individual should always be as relevant as possible.…

How many times have you opened an auction in Ebay and been put off by a poor auction description? Lots of times I'll bet. The auction description, especially on Ebay, is a fundamental part of achieving a successful sale. If the description isn't right, no amount of pictures or repricing will get your item sold. So where do people go wrong? Firstly, make sure the standard of your writing is good. Ensure your spelling is always correct and that you write in clear, concise sentences. There is a tendency these days for people to write phrases to get their point across because 'people will know what I mean'. This couldn't be further from the truth. When parting with hard cash for any item, people want to know exactly what they are getting for their money. If you have not been clear or are relying on hinting at something, a potential buyer will just look elsewhere, rather than be bothered to

even ask you the question. So what does this tell you about the level of content you need to supply in your description? You need to supply as much information as possible without swamping the buyer in a sea of text and pictures. This is why your writing needs to be concise. You need to ensure that you get across the maximum amount of information in the shortest possible number of words. To illustrate the point, how many times have you seen an auction, or even a website that takes a full five or ten seconds to scroll down through. Ask yourself now, how many of those auctions or websites did you actually bother to read all the way through? The chances are that it's none, isn't it? From a practical point of view, you need to supply a good, accurate description of what it is you're selling. Your facts need to be correct at all times. If you are…

Copyright is an important issue that all writers need to familiarise themselves with, for their own protection. Copyright applies to many different forms of creativity, but we are primarily interested here in how it applies to written works: also referred to as literary works. Copyright is a form of legal protection for the creator of a written literary work. In general, it affords the creator exclusive rights to (or rights to authorise someone else to): reproduce the work derive new work based upon the original distribute, sell, rent, lease or lend copies of the work perform the work (in the case of theatrical plays, screenplays, songs etc). It is therefore generally an infringement of the copyright of a literary work to do any of these things (and more) without the written permission of the copyright owner. In this case, copyright applies to 'original' written works. This may include books, novels, instruction manuals, song lyrics or even newspaper articles. Copyright does not apply

to names, slogans, titles or individual phrases. These may, however, be trademarked, which is different to copyrighting. The United Kingdom Patent Office defines an 'original' work: "A work can only be original if it is the result of independent creative effort. It will not be original if it has been copied from something that already exists. If it is similar to something that already exists but there has been no copying from the existing work either directly or indirectly, then it may be original." The USA has similar definitions which should be checked if more relevant to you. All countries have their own similar but subtly different copyright laws and you should check the one most applicable to you. Although you are free to assert your copyright ownership on your own original works by using the familiar © symbol, the year of creation and your name, it is also advisable to register the work in your name to ensure…

There can be fewer more embarassing things as a writer, than to realise that something you have written and published contains a glaring error. It's especially embarassing when it's a simple mistake or if it makes you look stupid. One of the greatest pitfalls, and sources and of potential embarassment, is when you get a figure of speech wrong, either through ignorance or just through a plain old typo. How many times have you seen an e-mail, or heard someone speak, and realised that what they've said doesn't look or sound just quite right. In everyday speech we use metaphors, euphemisms and sayings that can be misheard or misconstrued by anyone who isn't familiar with them already. In writing, the situation is just the same; only with a more embarassing effect for the writer. When you're writing or editing your work, think of phrases or sayings that you may have used. Think whether you've used them or expressed them correctly.

While the meaning or sound of the expression may be fine in your head, has it translated onto paper correctly? To illustrate the point, think about these phrases: batting down the hatches v batten down the hatches damp squid v damp squib mute point v moot point adverse to v averse to auger well v augur well alterior motive v ulterior motive barred wire v barbed wire butt naked v buck naked on tenderhooks v on tenterhooks one foul swoop v one fell swoop short shift v short shrift In each case the first one shown is incorrect, the second one is the real phrase. Would you have known this? The reason that many people have difficulty with them is because most of them are homophonic, that is, they sound the same or very similar. Most people will not be able to tell you the origin of some of these well-used phrases but most will readily understand what you are…