Writing with Speech Recognition Software

Writing with Speech Recognition Software

A professional writer might add a thousand words a day to their rough draft. With speech recognition software, some writers can add several thousand. That’s one reason why more writers are choosing to dictate their books. Today the error rate of speech recognition software has improved to within a percentage point of a human being. According to IBM, even a human transcriptionist hears the wrong word 4 or 5 percent of the time. IBM reached 5.5 percent in 2017. Google…

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How to Check Cross-References

How to Check Cross-References

A word, phrase, or sentence that directs the reader to related information in the same document (or, in the case of online content, perhaps a different document), whether said document is an article or a book, is called a cross-reference. This post discusses best practices in employing cross-references. In printed or online content, a cross-reference is a text element that introduces the reader to a subsequent element of content, whether text or one or more graphic elements. For example, an…

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List of 50 Great Word Games for Kids and Adults

List of 50 Great Word Games for Kids and Adults

If you want to improve your writing, maybe it’s time to ditch all the writing books and podcasts and play some word games instead. Yes, seriously! Word games and writing games are great ways to develop your vocabulary, to help you think more deeply about words, to have fun with story and structure, and to get a lot of fun out of writing. But games can be a great way to: Develop your vocabulary Help you think more deeply about…

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Writing Within Limitations

Writing Within Limitations

A writer can’t do anything he or she wants. Every human being – you too – is bound by limitations. Our readers are limited because they are human. A skillful writer learns to work with these limitations. Don’t overload the emotions of your readers. Escalating the emotional level of your story makes it interesting, you may say, so why not do it unceasingly? If one or two spies add tension to a novel, why not include forty-eight or forty-nine spies?…

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3 Types of Word Treatment

3 Types of Word Treatment

Spelling, capitalization, and italicization are three aspects of writing that careful writers will attend to. This post discusses the importance of recognizing standards and making conscious decisions when contemplating deviating from them. Spelling Employing proper spelling is one of the fundamentals of composition. Unfortunately, the explosive increase in writing opportunities afforded by the internet and social media makes it easier for careless writers to spread viral errors. Where in the past, few print publications would allow mistakes like definately and…

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How to Write a Joke

How to Write a Joke

Like any short form of writing, creating jokes teaches how to use a few words effectively. In this article, I will give examples of jokes and I will (shudder) explain them too. I know, you shouldn’t explain your jokes, but this helps us talk about them. Good jokes are often: Incongruous – This is the central feature of humor. That is, something that is funny is also surprising. Yes, it also needs to be recognizable (see below) – unless you…

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How to Play HQ Words: Cheats, Tips and Tricks

How to Play HQ Words: Cheats, Tips and Tricks

Word nerds rejoice! Imagine a word game where you can have fun and win cash prizes by leveraging your vast vocabulary. Well, it exists, and it is called HQ Words. The game was created by the same team who came up with the widely popular HQ Trivia. On HQ Trivia you compete in real time against players all over the world by answering to trivia questions. There is a live host who presents each question, and if you manage to…

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1,462 Basic Plot Types

1,462 Basic Plot Types

For centuries, writers and critics have tried to put stories into basic categories. I’ve written about the scientific quest for universal plot types using the Hedonometer and the theories of Kurt Vonnegut. My colleague Mark Nichol has written about several lists of types of plots: three types, seven types, another seven types, twenty types, and thirty six types. Before I reread Mark’s article, I thought I could combine them all and write my own article called The 69 Types of…

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Merriam-Webster’s 2018 Words of the Year

Merriam-Webster’s 2018 Words of the Year

Toward the end of every calendar year, Merriam-Webster, like other major dictionaries, shares a list of the words most frequently searched for on its website. As usual, this search traffic is largely driven by public discourse, as people look up words they see and hear in the media and in conversations, seeking to learn definitions of unfamiliar words or to clarify for themselves the meanings of words they know (or think they know). This post discusses Merriam-Webster’s Word of the…

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11 Writing Exercises to Inspire You and Strengthen Your Writing

11 Writing Exercises to Inspire You and Strengthen Your Writing

Whether you’re writing just for fun, for school, or with professional goals in mind, these exercises can all help you to improve your writing. Some will give you inspiration, others will help you avoid editing as you write, and many of them will help you pay closer attention to your word choices. I hope you’ll enjoy giving them a go! #1: Cover Your Screen While You Write If you find yourself doing more editing than actual writing, then try covering…

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