Monthly Archives: December 2015

Writing in circles

The circle is a very powerful shape. Nature loves it and so do humans (think about how you got to work this morning). Circles work in writing, too. In narrative there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a return to the starting point. Western narrative does this all the time – think of Odysseus and his… Read More »

Why IT projects fail

The Vancouver Sun newspaper has been running a series of articles this week examining failed BC government IT projects. The Sun claims the eight largest are $350 million over budget and counting. I have a few thoughts on this. It’s easy to single out government as the worst culprit but to be fair the Sun… Read More »

Writers got rhythm

Human beings love rhythm. We can’t not move when we hear the catchy beat of a pop song. In part that’s because popular music (pop, rock, jazz and blues) loves syncopation – the singer moves on and off the drummer’s beat and so do the guitarist, keyboardist and bass player. Most classical music, though, isn’t… Read More »

Principles to write by

A few years ago, when I was teaching an intro class in technical writing to students at George Brown College in Toronto, I wanted to come up with a list of key writing principles that would be useful, relevant and short enough to fit on a single PowerPoint slide. With a little help from George… Read More »

The power of three

I’m not sure why, but there’s something about the number three that works very well in writing. A list of three items – “I love apples, oranges, and pears” – has an effective, easy rhythm that helps us remember the list. The standard Hollywood screenplay has three acts – Act 1 introduces the hero and sets… Read More »