Skip to main content

Long On Short

Another week of classroon training in office. This time, the teacher is Teresa Castle, a seasoned American journalist. Like Teresa, the first question that came to mind was: why do we need this all over again? An over enthusiastic colleague thought he had found the answer, "To refresh ourselves and do a check of our own writing and see where we are headed." I'd imagined Teresa to give a thumbs up to that but she was like "Er, well, yes that but we also have to think about the audience we are writing for." So the session is all about learning how to tell stories with simplicity and elan and how to develop that style. Clearly, a skill that most writers need to hone.

Now I spin into panic whenever I face any kind of teacher. You see there is this age-old problem with me. Having been a back-bencher all my life, I have problems concentrating. So when the teacher is teaching I am looking for ways to entertain myself. In school, it was reading all kinds of books other than school books with my text-book for cover. Still, I am hoping Teresa will do me some good.

Writers never graduate from the school of writing. That's what Teresa said. I have taken that to heart -- among all the things she said. So that partly explains the never ending training sessions we are exposed to these days. Next I heard is grammar classes. Not that people who write in our profession do not know basic grammar but it's like a referesher course, almost like re-disciplining ourselves to the rule of grammar, which we more often than not tend to break in our rush and pursuit of path-breaking stories. :) That's the rationale behind grammar for the know-it-all types.

I am only worried about one thing that Teresa said, which is, the shorter the sentences, the better the readability. And she said to try something called the readability index on word. The benchmark: 10 to 12 word sentence to churn out an ideally written story. Now that to me is not the best thing about writing. I have my pauses, but how do I sort out my long thoughts?


Popular posts from this blog

A Mad Man Or A Boor

What does one do when one encounters a mad dog? Or what does one do when one encounters a man with pre-fixed notions about everything in life, most specifically of women who live alone and give him some importance? The two are equivalent to me and basic intelligence says avoid the paths they tread like plague. But I chose to tackle them head on. I almost got rabbies.

The mad man said [sic] "You sound like a very desperate person. A single and frustrated woman who is looking for anyone to leave a comment on your blog so much so that you wouldn't even spare a spammer." Spammer being, the first comment on the previous post is apparently a spam, an advert for T-shirts. Bummer! I thought it was a handsome Spaniard or Latino, so I had replied "Hi Rodrigo", hoping to take the conversation forward offline. Anyway! All this the mad man found out. I didnt. Sure, I dig comments because I love the spontaneity and intelligence of my friends. And I didn't invite the mad m…

The Churn

11 am: There I was bang on time at work, perhaps, in a long time. The occasion: a meeting called by the top boss and compulsory attendance required. I am, as always, out of the loop. Reason being there is always so much happening in my life that I am always behind everything. That does not mean I fail to deliver! And unlike some people who are truly into perception management (will delve on it later) and are such repository for all 'inside news', office gossip and politics least interest me. I mean, who cares if someone is quitting for some place else or is having an affair with so and so, or is being transferred unless that person happens to be someone I am generally fond of. Maybe then I would have been privy to some of the classified information ahem... So, was I in for shock today?

The meeting was sombre and had a full house attendance. And then our top boss spilled the beans. Three of the men at the helm were either quitting or were assuming other responsibilities and a ne…


Two million people at the National Mall in Washington alone. The world watched too as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. So did I. I rudely cut roomie's soap operas and switched to CNN to witness history being created. Some day I may live to tell the tale of how Barack, the much touted Afro-American President of the United States, stumbled with his swearing-in oath.

I was a bit disappointed as I watched the man who had run the most successful of election campaigns, the man who Americans were pinning their hopes on, take his oath. Clearly, he was under too much of a pressure to be the best. So before Chief Justice John Roberts could complete the first sentence, there was Obama abruptly breaking out into his first names... "I Barack Hussein Obama.." and then waited for the judge to complete the sentence.. The next line was even taxing. He stopped short after two words... "That I will excute..." and then Justice Roberts continued…