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The plain English writing movement

A look into the plain English writing movement and how this has impacted newspapers, and social media as well as academic, professional and contemporary writing.

Has the plain English writing movement improved writing standards and expectations?

Or has is simplified and ‘dumbed’ down writing skills such as comprehension and interpretation?

  • I did update this but it didn't work. Plain English (or layman's terms) is a style of communication that uses easy to understand, plain language with an emphasis on clarity, brevity, and avoidance of overly complex vocabulary.The movement began in the 1970's to improve legal documents. The purpose was to remove the confusion to the layperson because of the obscurities of the style of writing. Fast forward to today and we are seeing organisation who's sole purpose is to teach anyone involved in writing documents or online content how to write in layman's terms. The movement has penetrated universities, government and others. – mattcarlin 9 hours ago
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Word Count: How much of it really counts?

Does setting a word count goal block the creative process or does it push us beyond our accepted limitations? Many writers will sit down and write so many words a day, all in the name of the perfect length novel. But does needing a certain amount of words create a certain amount of rubbish? How many of those words were really necessary? On the other hand, those who tend to overwrite might be cutting excess words with the help of a proper word count, using it to determine where they got a little carried away. When are word counts useful? What is their effect on progress? Who might find it troublesome or helpful and how so?

  • Very good topic. I would suggest for the writer who picks this up to look into requirements for getting published in the different genres i.e. Science Fiction and fantasy word count requirements vary from historical romance and so on. It would be worthwhile investigating this for research into the article. – mattcarlin 1 day ago
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Aspects of a Writer's Life in Fictional Work

To what extent do you think a writer’s experience (life, personal, certain events) shapes their fictional work? I always like to ponder what aspects of a fictional piece is relatable or true to the author. Of course their are many reasons that shape an authors work, whether it be inspiration from other pieces of work, a dream which has expanded into a novel, or just a thought that popped into their head. If you write fictional pieces, can you see pieces of your life experience sewed into them?

  • I think this is a fundamental truth in fiction writing. No matter how detached the author is from the character/situation there will always be some residue of the authors experiences and life choices that subconsciously find their way into the work. – ReidaBookman 2 days ago
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Reincarnation and Cloning: Old and New Forms of Existence

Is eternity encoded in the human DNA and, if so, is cloning overkill or counter-intuitive? In ancient Celtic lore, a warrior sword was cast away onto a body of water upon his untimely or unjust death, to symbolize his promotion to the next level of consciousness. If the human soul is in fact transient, is it more conducive to comprehend its boundaries, its depths, or its mechanism and, as such, infuse life with a honed purpose and a more enlightened experience? Is the 1997 Heaven’s Gate incident an emerging (and legitimate) human alternative?

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    Is Objective Journalism Dead?

    Discuss modern journalism and answer the question of whether objectivity in journalism has been forsaken. On the left we have Huffington Post, and on the right we have Breitbart (of course there are other examples to use on both ends of the spectrum); question and answer why there has been an uprising in biased reporting in the Western world. Explore the causes of this and compare modern journalism to past journalism such as the 1920’s (or any time period the author chooses).

    • This is a great topic...Something you can add may be the role television, the internet and other mass media portals played in this. – MikeySheff 7 months ago
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    • Interesting topic, though I'm not convinced that journalism has ever been truly objective. While objectivity sounds like a lovely ideal, it's worth questioning how possible (or even useful) it actually is. Some of the most iconic journalists from history (Murrow comes to mind) achieved that status by being opinionated, and bringing about real-world change with their opinions. Perhaps the onus need not be on the journalists to not take a stand on divisive issues, but rather on media consumers to read what's been written by both Left and Right-wing journalists to form their own opinions. – ProtoCanon 7 months ago
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    • It's also helpful to think about why news organizations have changed over time due to corporate control.Many owners now emphasize profit margins over quality news. – seouljustice 7 months ago
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    • Objective journalism never existed. The first papers in America were colonial papers which were not allowed to publish anything bad about the government without facing jail-time. Post colonial papers were entirely sponsored by political parties who used newspapers to attack opposing candidates from different parties. Then came the penny press which sensationalized stories, focused on celebrity news, and sometimes fabricated entire stories. It wasn't until the 1800's the a facts-driven model was introduced and there was more of an emphasis on being objective, though even then they never entirely were. Now a day, Opinion Journalism plays a huge part in media as a whole. Opinion Journalism should not be confused with Counterfeit Opinion Journalism, which consists of those crazy, outlandish claims and accusations based on personal belief and emotions. In contrast, real Opinion pieces consist of facts, actual news, in which the writer takes into account and then draws and educated conclusion. Whether the reader agrees with the writer or not is irrelevant, if the facts are correct and provided in context, its still valuable news. A lot of the Counterfeit you see is spread because we no longer have men sitting in chairs deciding what we hear and see. Now, we are the gatekeepers of media, and if we continue to spread false news, it will continue to be printed. – HDumars 7 months ago
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    • Protocannon's correct: all journalism is "yellow" (see William Randolph Hearst). A positive about ubiquitous Internet news sources is that silencing them would be like playing Whack-a-Mole for our central scrutinizers; one bad part is that many internet news sources, too, play Whack-a-Mole with the truth. – Tigey 4 months ago
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    • While I agree that all journalistic outlets have varying degrees of bias, try looking for publications that make real efforts to be as objective as possible. Most modern local newspapers and broadcast stations tend to be as close to neutral as they can without sensationalizing their stories. I hope this helps. – Tanner Ollo 5 days ago
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    • You should also look into the worrying trend of news outlets quoting no other sources than Twitter. Credible sources seem to be a thing of the past in the mainstream media. – AGMacdonald 2 days ago
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    Why study creative writing?

    Many great writers never studied the craft. Today, more and more students are enrolling in creative writing degrees. Edward Delaney has written in The Atlantic, on ‘Where great writers are made’, about America’s top graduate writing programs – emphasising the importance of time (money) and something to react against. Is that it? Lynn Davidson writes movingly in her article ‘A roof over my head’ for Text journal about structure, and being part of an ongoing conversation. How has the current long apprenticeship evolved; in what ways does it tap into a tradition of writing mentorships and creative communities and what aspects might be evidence that we are seeing a different model emerging?

    • My sub major is creative writing and I would have to say, if I didn't do the introductory unit to this course I would not have found my passion and love for poetry, writing and reading in general. I believe without studying it or practising creative writing you won't achieve the best that you can achieve. You won't get a lot out of it if you did it here and there. Studying it takes it to another level and I love that. In the end a writer should not write or get published just to earn money, my tutor told me if you are going about your profession this way then you are doing it wrong. You must do it because you love it and because you want your words to be heard and read. As I said earlier, I would not have found my passion for poetry and writing if I did not do this course. You can learn so much about different authors, writing techniques and to be honest you would be surprised how much you learn about yourself also. Of course, having a mentor or someone who knows creative writing well is always a good idea. Having support is so important especially if you want to get published one day. It can be challenging at times, I've been told you will get turned down but it is part of the job and the journey. – claraaa 1 week ago
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    Taken by belindahuang18 (PM) 4 days ago.
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    The Satisfaction in ambiguous endings

    Author Dodie Smith in "I Capture the Castle" foreshadowed her novel’s ambiguous ending through this quote from the novel: "I get the feeling I do on finishing a novel with a brick-wall happy ending – I mean the kind of ending when you never think any more about the characters."

    What kind of satisfaction is there in a novel’s ending where the reader interprets what happens to the characters? Do readers tend to think about what happens to a character after a "brick-wall happy ending"? Is an ambiguous ending better suited to stories where the ending could be bittersweet or sad? What kind of situations merit the reader coming up with their own ending, instead of the author revealing how they imagine everything to end?

    • An ambiguous ending to a novel will undoubtedly leave open the window to future renditions. Even in a happy-ending scenario, there is potential for reversal of fortune (leading to another compilation). There is always the possibility that the reader massaged the plot into a flavor to their convenient liking; one the author could conceivably exploit into several more chapters, or sequels. – lofreire 1 week ago
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    Genre Crossing: Do or Don't?

    Often times authors create a strong image for themselves by writing in a specific genre. When you think of Stephen King you think horror. But what about those who experiment with different genres? Are they simply stretching their creative limbs or are they lost and in need of a home? While perhaps more relevant to younger writers this also applies to giants in the industry such as Lois Lowry who’s most renowned for her novel "The Giver" (A dystopian novel) and "Number the Stars" (Historical fiction). These novels vary in setting, character, and most notably the year they take place. Despite being entirely different works they belong to the same author who was able to stretch her talent across genres. But how often does genre crossing work? There is also the question of slipstream in which writers cross genres, such as fantasy and science fiction, within a story. What does that entail? Does genre crossing enhance or sabotage one’s career as a writer?

    • it might be interesting to consider how much control the writer has in defining/confining genre - there's a lot of argument that genres are created out of reader recognition, according to current context, in the moment of consumption ... which might explain the concern of some writers about their works being read/received 'wrong'. – rosemichael 1 week ago
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    • While Stephen King is best known for horror like It and The Shining, he also wrote Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption; the latter being turned into the #1 film of all time on IMDb. – AGMacdonald 1 week ago
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    • A complex issue with no clear-cut answers. Marketing has a lot to do with genre policing of course. There are obvious commercial/publishing risks if an author creates a work that is hard to button-hole. Which shelf should it go on? But if you're writing literary fiction, rather than so-called 'popular' fiction, then genre-bending, along with all sorts of other experimentation, is fair game. – SFG 1 week ago
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