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Writing Guide

The purpose of this work is to guide amateur writers on how to effectively inform or convince other people on the Internet. The assumption is that you can read and write English at typical newspaper level – about seventh grade or 5 years of study by speakers of another language.  Reading and writing on the ‘net over 25 years have given me some perspective on what works, common mistakes that do not work, and where there a reasonable difference of opinion.  I tried to make it comprehensive, but it is no substitute for practice.

This guide is presented free as  “shareware”.    If you find my work helpful, please use the PayPal “Donate” button on the right.  I believe it has a value of $10 as an eBook, but you can assess what it is worth to you.  Thank you!

Internet culture often seems to believe that an emphasis on quality is elitist, inviting judgment and criticism. I argue that if the Internet is going to empower people the otherwise disconnected and disenfranchised speak truth to power.  A small amount of training and attention to detail makes the craft more accessible and much harder for power to ignore.  I further believe that nearly anyone with enough drive can learn to do this if they want.

The Basics – avoiding common mistakes and polishing your craft.
Internet Writing – what is unique to the medium in front of you.
Edit Your Own Writing – a critical skill that requires practice.

Writing to Inform:
Citizen Journalism – how to be an effective reporter.
Features – web content that isn’t as time dependent as news.

Writing to Convince:
Convincing – how to make a tight, effective argument.
Organizing – firing people up to work together.
Impact Journalism – a new technique with vast potential for the internet.

Additional Topics:
Blank Slate – when “objective” isn’t quite right.
Unity – crafting works with distinct purpose and meaning.
Reading is Writing – understanding your reader’s perspective on your work.

All works on these pages Copyright © 2009-2011 by Erik Hare.  All rights reserved.  Duplication is prohibited without my expressed written consent – which will be given freely to any non-spam use of this material with a link back.  Write to me as erikhare at gmail dot com for more information, or if you want to suggest improvements.

Much of this was introduced and refined through posts on Barataria over the course of 2009.  Special thanks to Bruce, John, Janine, Jim, Cristy, and everyone else who helped me to refine them.