A plain language guide from Alberta to make Canadian writing more readable

Canadians need to write clearer, so that readers understand what they write. This guide from the Alberta government’s education ministry can help.

Canadians speak in plain language. But they often write in…well…convoluted, difficult to read language. This is not unique to Canada, by the way.

The Canada.ca content style guide can help. It gives a lot of great advice on how to write clearer, easier-to-read text.

Like the Canada.ca guide, the Guidelines for Writers and Editors (Digital Design and Resource Authorization Branch) is a digital style guide. That means it is written to respond to how people read on the Internet. [Read more…]

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What does this squash have to do with ghostwriting?

If you can get excited about almost anything—even a squash—you might just have what it takes to be a ghostwriter.

I get easily excited. Generally, I am a pretty quiet, focused person. I spend a lot of time staring at a screen. I spend a lot of time clicking a mouse and tapping on keys. But I also get excited very easily. And that’s the ideal recipe for a ghostwriter.

Let me explain using visual aids. [Read more…]

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What Twitter words reveal about Canadians (Are Canadians really nicer than Americans?)

How important is our choice of words? Let’s see what Twitter says. A study of 40 million tweets reveals the true nature of being a “nicer” Canadian.

Be careful about the words you use. Those words tell a lot about you. But it’s not just about you, the individual. Words can tell a lot about national character, as well.

Canadians often take great pride in being “nice”, especially in contrast to our American neighbours (who presumably are “less nice”?).

But is our self-perception true? Or is it just fake news? [Read more…]

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Why excellence matters so much to you and your business

Excellence is like magic. You can’t measure it, but you know when you have it and the results are miraculous. Here’s how you can achieve excellence in life and in business.

In everything we do, we strive for excellence. Whether we are writing your wedding speech or your screenplay, whether we are finding you new ways to reach your prospects or writing a book, we strive for excellence.

Why is this important? [Read more…]

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Interview with Canadian screenwriter Mark Parks

Ottawa-based screenwriter and director Mark Parks talks with THGM about writing, critics and film making.

Lauralee, my younger daughter, made her screen debut last month at Ottawa’s venerable Mayfair Theatre in Dead Air, a horror short that was part of the annual Monster Pool anthology. Running 4:40, Dead Air is one of seven invited films, joined by another 12 at the “community screening”.

The director and screenwriter was Mark Parks, who had previously helped produce feature films Biff Wellington and The Stars Look Tired. He also co-produced a Bell Fibe TV1 series called The Underdog. Mark sat down to chat with us about Dead Air and the path that lead him to create it. [Read more…]

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What do you think Canadian bloggers write?

It’s one of the most popular memes out there: what people think writers really do. Let’s give it a Canadian spin.

You’ve seen the meme many times. It revolves around a profession, and it shows:

  • What my friends think I do.
  • What my husband/wife thinks I do.
  • What society thinks I do.
  • What somebody else thinks I do.
  • What I think I do.
  • What I really do.

They almost always travel in packs of six. Often, there’s an editor in there, because this meme is often about writers. [Read more…]

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Canadian writing resources

Want to write better Canadian English? These tools will help.

Canadian English and Canadian customs are not the same as those of the USA or the UK. Canada has its own version of English. So it goes to reason that Canada has its own resources for writers.

Here are a few of those resources that can help you write for a Canadian audience. [Read more…]

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10 really cool things about the Canada.ca style guide

If you are writing online, the Canada.ca style guide will make your writing better, no matter what country you are in.

People are used to working with journalistic style guides, such as those of the Canadian Press (CP) or the Associated Press (AP). These are great resources for journalists, especially to ensure accuracy and objectivity in the words we use.

People “read” differently online

But if you are writing for an online audience, you might need a style guide that accounts for how people read differently online. In fact, people don’t read online. At least, they don’t read until they reach details that they feel they need to carefully digest.

Until that point, they scan.

Fortunately, there is a style guide that was made just for online readers…er…scanners: the Canada.ca Content Style Guide. [Read more…]

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