Yes, writing is hard. But if you can first grasp the origins and qualities of bad writing, you may learn to diagnose and cure problems in your own prose (keeping things simple helps a lot). Similarly heartening is the observation that most first drafts are second-rate, so becoming a skilled rewriter is the thing. These five works are excellent sources of insight and inspiration.

Being George Orwell's thoughts on how to write well, and his formulation of six rules:

i. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

ii. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

iii. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

iv. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

v. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

vi. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

The open source community produces a large amount of software for different uses. I have already told you about open source tools for interactive fictions. Here are eleven open source tools to help authors be creative.

I’ve recently published my first novel The Golden Legacy on Kindle and paperback through Amazon, achieving very professional results. Along the way, I created a process and a couple of tools based exclusively on open source software. Here’s my process.

This service uses linguistic analysis to detect and interpret emotions, social tendencies, and language style cues found in text.

I’d like to lay out the main arguments that I have against Markdown. Hopefully this will be useful in helping you decide whether it’s a good fit for your organization. If you are considering Markdown, I hope that you also look at Asciidoctor and Sphinx. I find them to be much better toolsets for writing documentation.

Booktype allows authors to create beautiful books for print and digital distribution. Publishers use Booktype to manage their entire catalogue in one place, providing authors, translators and proofreaders with all the tools they need.

Back in the olden days, most typists were trained to use all their fingers. That’s less of a concern now, leading to all sorts of self-taught typing styles. But as a new study shows, our lack of formal training—and our resistance to using all ten fingers—doesn’t mean we’re not proficient typists.

For at least two centuries, it has been standard practice in the United States to place commas and periods inside of quotation marks. This rule still holds for professionally edited prose: what you'll find in Slate, the New York Times, the Washington Post— almost any place adhering to Modern Language Association (MLA) or AP guidelines. But in copy-editor-free zones—the Web and emails, student papers, business memos—with increasing frequency, commas and periods find themselves on the outside of quotation marks, looking in. A punctuation paradigm is shifting.

Nothing drives me crazier than authors—or patrons at Renaissance Faires—addressing everyone and everything as “mi’loooooooord.” Firstly, no one outside of possibly a few British comedians in the 1970s has ever pronounced the word “my” that way. Secondly, not everyone is a lord; that notion defies the most basic grasp of economics. Thirdly, there are different kinds of lords, especially in different periods—the system was constantly evolving. Finally, there are specific ways to address each type depending on who you are.

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