Let’s Write Friendlier Blog Posts, Shall We?

Everything old is new again…

SORTING THROUGH ANOTHER BOX of stuff I inherited from my mother and her sisters, I found a small booklet, Let’s write Friendlier Letters by Earle A. Buckley, Director of the The Buckley Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

This booklet, published in 1945, is described as: “A practical course in MODERN LETTER WRITING.” It is 36 pages long and has 21 points intended to help you become a better letter writer.

If I may be so bold as to summarize, the gist of the advice in the booklet boils down to 3 smart writing tips: be concise, be conscientious, be personable.

~ ~ 🌟 ~ ~

AS I UNDERSTAND THEM, the 21 points areΒ as follows:

  1. Every letter is a sales letter.
  2. Make friends with people by understanding their perspective.
  3. Stereotyped, trite, hackneyed phrases serve no useful purpose in letter writing.
  4. Words cost money so eliminate unnecessary ones.
  5. Your opening sentence is your first impression.
  6. Stop writing when you’ve said what you need to say.
  7. Prepare yourself mentally so that you’re thinking clearly about the subject you are about to discuss in your letter.
  8. Your letter must have personality if it is to be perceived as truthful.
  9. Stay away from long sentences because “they’re dangerous.”
  10. Letters are either categorized as “inquiry” or “answer.”
  11. Write in a way that makes the letter look pretty while molding opinions in your favor.
  12. When answering a complaint you must show you understand why the complainant is upset, then move the discussion to friendly terms quickly.
  13. Use contractions to make the tone of your letters seem conversational and natural.
  14. Don’t write like a telegram because your letter won’t be perceived as written by a friendly human being.
  15. Look at the appearance of your letters as you would the appearance of a salesman.
  16. Tell enough to be interesting, but not everything.
  17. Write so that your ideas flow logically + smoothly from paragraph to paragraph.
  18. Your relationship with your stenographer needs to be one of effective teamwork.
  19. Avoid form letters that look “form-letter-ish.”
  20. Get in the habit of editing your letters, you’ll become a better letter writer.
  21. To be an effective letter writer you must sell yourself first so that your tone will be a friendly one, sure to increase your business.

~ ~ 🌟 ~ ~

WITH THE EXCEPTIONS OF Point 4 [words don’t cost money in the blogosphere] and Point 18 [who has a stenographer?], I’d suggest that these points are amazingly good advice for today’s modern blogger.

Good advice that is spot on IF you want to write friendlier, well-received blog posts. Perhaps you do, perhaps you don’t. Who am I to say what it is that you want to do with your blog?

However, if’n you’ve been wondering how to zhoosh up your blog making it more convivial in these stressful, antagonistic times, then may I suggest you heed this old-time letter-writing advice from 1945.

Just a friendly thought. Agreed?

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Charmingly cynical. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Fond of words.

159 thoughts on “Let’s Write Friendlier Blog Posts, Shall We?”

  1. I like the point about saying what you have to say and then being done with it. Not always good at that one myself, but it is a tip of good writing. Why use 8 words when 7 will do, etc.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. J, I liked that point, too. I try to do that, with varying degrees of success. I sometimes wonder how it is that published authors aren’t held to that standard. πŸ€”

      Like

  2. I like your three points over his 21 points, though I have been meaning to talk to you about getting a stenographer to come in part-time . . .

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Zen, Den, thank you. I’m good at summation, feeling that getting to the point makes for good written communication.

      As for a stenographer… does that job even exists anymore?

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  3. First. So glad you unearthed this! So fun! Second…yes…we bloggers should think about some of these things….third…where do I get a stenographer?

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    1. LA, when I saw this booklet in the box of family stuff, I knew it’d be good reading. I rather liked all the points, but felt they were repetitive. Don’t know where you can find a stenographer, but should you do so, let us know, ok?

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Judy, I use email because it’s efficient and effective, so I’m with you there. I totally agree about the need for understanding someone else’s perspective. If you aren’t learning about people who handle life differently than you do, then you’re missing out on some good friendships.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I was a stenographer back in the very early days. One of my first jobs. I would add that unless you are delivering dire news, make it light hearted and fun to read. I always go through my post and hack out my little pet phrases that add nothing, mean nothing and are annoying. Sometimes one or two will slip through.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kate, NO KIDDING? You worked as a stenographer? I’m loving that I know that about you.

      I edit myself, too. I do the same thing that you do about hacking out pieces of what I write. I come from a marketing/legal background so every word has to move the message forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You are indeed a skilled summarizer Ms. Bean. And yes, yes, yes, to writing friendlier posts. Yes to friendlier everything! Alas though, I have far far to go before I can be considered a concise word user – you’ll never get me to walk a straight path if I can meander instead.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deborah, while I’m sure I could make a case for the nuances embedded in each of the points, overall to me they seemed like three points. In my observation the idea of meandering when your write either appeals to your spirit or it doesn’t. Which is to say that I enjoy reading what you write because it’s you, on paper. If I tried to do that I’d feel silly, so I edit myself almost mercilessly. Both work, just different.

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  6. Why did it take that book 21 points to say exactly what you did in just 3 Ally Bean. I suppose a 3 page “book” would have been no book at all…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, maybe having many points was the way you wrote how-to manuals in 1945? Maybe Earle A. Buckley was trying to create the impression that he knew it all so he blathered on? I’ve no real answer to your question, but it’s a good one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “Every letter is a sales letter”
    Suz wonders, what the hell am I selling?

    This was a fun read and my, oh my how times have changed. And also NOT changed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Suz, my take on that point as applied to blogging is that you need to think figuratively, not literally, about what you’re selling. You sell a point of view.

      Agreed that this booklet is oddly spot on, and slightly off, at the same time. Probably why I liked it. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Generally, good advice, but–no shocker if you’ve spent any time on my blog–I take exception to # 9. The length of sentences often convey something beyond the words themselves, and sometimes nothing but a long sentence will do. Still, I love the idea that a long sentence is dangerous. So many ways to interpret that, all of them kind of wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rita, I, too, loved the idea that a long sentence was “dangerous.” I immediately had the image of James Dean in my mind, thinking a sentence could be a rebel– with a clause, I suppose. [pun intended]

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        1. Fun Fact: A sentence often claimed to be the longest sentence ever written is in Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in the James Joyce novel Ulysses (1922), which contains a “sentence” of 3,687 words. I wonder what Mr. Buckley would have made of that?!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Nancy, being a businessman I’d humble suggest that Mr. Buckley might not have been familiar with highbrow literature such as Ulysses. Of course that’s an assumption on my part, but… πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

            Liked by 2 people

                1. Some of my favorite authors (Dickens, Austen, Milne, White) are included in the verbose sentence club . . . most in the 100 word range, not the 1000+ word range.

                  Those 1000+ word sentences make me want to take a nap before setting out on the journey! πŸ’‘

                  Liked by 1 person

              1. I LOVE this article! I knew I would when the writer touched upon a misconception peeve of mine (that long sentences and run-on sentences are the same thing). And then I saw the example from E.B. White. If anyone can write an elegant long sentence, it would be him, and he did! It seems to me that a distinction needs to be made between long sentences that are formed with dashes, parentheses, and semi-colons, and those that do not. Seems like the former are often truly two or more sentences stuck together with punctuation.

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                1. You’re right, Rita. There’s a difference between a run-on sentences and a long sentence. Hadn’t thought of that. One is delightful, the other is… well, a bit annoying.

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  9. Ally, You remind me how β€˜what’s old is new again.’ I found #13 interesting, since diverse opinions on this. I have found #16 to be good advice over the years. Thank you for sharing an interesting post! Or is β€œthanks” better.😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica/Erika, I’m totally with you about #16. I’ve refused from the beginning to tell all about me. I could have called this blog, Slices of Ally. Made me laugh with your last sentence. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mr. Buckley expanded on his 21 point / 36 page pamphlet with a 220 page book. You should add it to your Christmas Wish List! Just $91.87 for a hardcover copy! 😯

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I appreciate your effort in finding this treasure, I’ll pass on buying it. I’M SURE I’VE LEARNED ALL I NEED FROM THE BOOKLET. I cannot imagine how Mr. Buckley could have stretched 36 pages into 220. 🀨

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Maggie, these writing tips made my day. I stumbled over the booklet, but analyzed the advice in the context of now. Much of it holds true in blogging. Your letter sounds neato.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I liked 14 – don’t write like it’s a telegram! That would make for a fun blog post! I recently looked at our wedding book and I have two telegrams in it from family friends that were not able to attend and I thought “wow – have not thought about a telegram in decades”. Also 19 – try not to write form letter ish. That cracked me up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bernieLynne, I haven’t received a telegram since I was a little girl and got one from an aunt as a birthday surprise. I thought it was a hoot about the form letter idea, too. I mean, you immediately know what that means. No reasonable blogger would want to be accused of that!

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      1. I just looked up Telegram and it’s now an app — for instant messaging. Kind of like what’s app only better (of course they’d say that). I was looking up Telegram because I thought it would be cool to do a blog post that way.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Interesting. If you do a blog post written in old-fashioned telegram style, that’d be cool. Difficult I’d think, but fun. I’m not sure that I know how to word a telegram other than people used “stop” all the time.

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    1. Marian, zhoosh at will. Your blog will thank you. I find that politics is one of those topics that can bring out the worse, or best, in people. It all depends…

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  12. My mom collects antiques and when we were kids she had little autograph books from her mother and her aunt on display in the living room. Occasionally we would read the slanty, cursive writing and chuckle at the shared thoughts. So formal.

    I believe I fall into the category of someone who needs to edit things down a notch . . . especially my lengthy post from last week. Believe it or not, it is my goal to wrap things up sooner. Room for improvement. I will say, it isn’t just in my writing . . . I tend to tell a lengthy story in person too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ernie, I remember my mom had one of those autograph books. They were the thing.

      I find that some people just need to express themselves in a winding, wordy way while others are more succinct. It’s not like there is a right or wrong, if your message is received then all is good.

      However if you want to tighten your writing, then you should give it a try. Who knows what you might learn about yourself in the process.

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  13. If only the agents I have queried would take number 19 to heart: Avoid form letters that look β€œform-letter-ish.”

    Overall, this is great advice for social media in general!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When my husband was on a Med float in β€˜91 (6 month deployment) I wrote him a letter everyday. I had to number them as the mail was delivered in fits and bursts, but he was the envy of the whole ship.
        ❣️

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Love these old books. Perhaps some of those Christmas News Letter writers should read this list. Not sure about a stenographer but if you want to dictate your letters, I’ll be glad to transcribe them for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet, I agree with you about the Christmas Newsletter writers. Perhaps Hallmark could do a TV commercial about this very topic? Made me laugh with your offer to transcribe. People barely write letters anymore let alone need someone else to help them. But back in the day…

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This makes me want to write a few letters to far away friends. (even though I don’t have much to say) I wonder how our blogs differ from a letter though. I think I come across as friendly, but also have my whiny, venting and political ranting side. We are talking in some cases to ourselves rather than a specific audience. We don’t know who is out there and sometimes don’t get any response. Is it more like a soliloquy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, you make good points about the difference between a personal blog and a letter sent to a friend. I see them as similar but not the same. I suspect that the way in which you describe your blog influences the degree to which your blog posts are letter-like.

      Interesting idea that a blog is a soliloquy. I’ve never thought of that, but there is a truth to it. I think of my blog as a catalyst for conversation.

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    1. Pam, I doubt that anyone has ever fallen asleep reading your posts. You give just the right amount of info. I think of #16 as pertaining to people who share ALL the personal details of ALL facets of their lives. There need to be boundaries, imo. Some topics need not be discussed.

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  16. As one who will click out of a wordy post – especially one that contains few, if any, paragraphs – as soon as it appears on my screen, I love anything that encourages succinct writing. I think that some who heard the quote “write drunk, edit sober” (attributed to Hemingway, but probably not) never sobered up enough to remember the edit part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, well said. You’re onto something about the hypothetical person who remains drunk. I’m all about editing my words, but I understand that not everyone writes like that, nor enjoys editing themself. I love it, but I’m peculiar I suppose. For me it’s a game to see how succinct I can be while still getting my point across.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love these little treasures from the past. It’s often a simple, uncomplicated way to approach things.

    However, in light of American politics over the past 4 years, perhaps #8 should be downplayed. I think everyone has had enough ‘personality’ vs truth to last several lifetimes πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, ha! You’re onto something with your idea about #8. I hadn’t put that together, but yes.

      I agree that this is a little treasure. I’ve no idea which of my ancestors bought this, but it’s charming in a retro way.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I love reading historical works that talk about the ‘how tos’ of daily life. I can’t remember the last time I received a handwritten letter. The art of letter writing may be lost but much of what you shared still applies in our new forms of communication. Fun post! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sue, I enjoyed reading through this booklet. Some of it was quaint, while lots of it was pertinent to today’s forms of communication. I was charmed by the booklet truth be known. I’m glad you liked reading about it.

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  19. Isn’t a stenographer a type of dinosaur? πŸ™‚ What fun to read these “rules” and see how many still apply and how many are ignored today, whether on blogs or in letters (what are those again?) We’ve been told to help keep the post office out of the deep financial hole they’re in, so I’ve been writing cards and postcards. One good thing about the latter is that you don’t have to write too much and no one will know if you write the same thing to everyone getting a postcard. πŸ™‚ And one day I wrote a real letter, two pages, to send overseas to my s-i-l in France. Old time fun, but trust me, people LOVE getting real mail instead of the junk that mostly fills our boxes these days. As an aside, we get lots of mail addressed to many different people at our address, making me wonder a) how many people don’t change their addresses and b) how long ago some of them lived here. One man is getting letters from a collection agency and also letters offering him more credit. πŸ™‚ Anything with a return address, we put back in the mail, with “Return to sender. Not at this address.” Very Elvis, n’est pas ?

    janet

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    1. Janet, made me laugh with your comment about stenographer. Good one.

      We send a card to my MIL every month, helping the USPS in the process of staying in touch. I haven’t written a real letter in years, though. I like your description of it as “old time fun.” So true. Fun that you wrote one.

      What an odd thing to have other people’s mail continue to come to your address. You’re doing your bit by doing the return to sender thing, but eventually wouldn’t you think the wrong mail would stop? You’re right it is is very Elvis.

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      1. I don’t know if the post office actually returns them or if they just toss any that aren’t official government mail…or maybe just toss all of them. And who knows if the company sending the mail actually cares enough to update the mailing addresses. We’ve also gotten vitamin shipments from a woman I found online and contacted. She picked up one order but even though she said she was coming for the next one and that she should stop the deliveries, she never picked them up. My husband called the company and they said they couldn’t stop shipping them without her OK. Seems stupid to me, but it’s their money.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s incredible. The woman is paying for the vitamins that she’s not picking up, even though she knows what is happening! I cannot wrap my head around that at all, but it makes for a good story.

          I wonder if the post office tosses those return to sender letters, too. What an interesting situation you’ve found yourself in.

          Liked by 1 person

  20. Ha! I’m into friendlier these days–maybe even spiritual–the whole world could use a little change of focus, right? Thanks for pointing us toward what really matters, Ally Bean. You rock!

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    1. Kathy, you know I agree with you about spiritual. Change of focus is right. I found this old booklet and the advice seemed as fresh as today’s writing tips. Plus, how fun, huh? πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, I loved that point. To me it is delightful to contemplate the idea that writing a complex sentence is dangerous. I sometimes think of my blog as me writing a letter home, so that’s where my mind went when I read this booklet. It was a hoot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Those old how-to booklets are often a hoot and a great blog inspiration. Long sentences don’t necessarily have to be complex. Stream of thought pieces are generally long babbles that on the surface seem trivial but actually reveal something deeper (or not …!)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Joni, you and many other commenters have mentioned #9. I use long sentences every once in a while, so I get your concern. You gotta add a little danger to your writing, lest you be thought of as dull. πŸ€“

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    1. Donna, I thought of you as I wrote this. After your posts about blogging tips, the advice in this booklet reminded me of what you wrote. Not specifically, but generally. The need for how-to tips seems timeless.

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  21. 1945. That’s amazing!

    Maybe #1 is true, but I don’t like to think that way. (Right now I’m thinking about the marketing side of publishing a book, and the idea of trying to make a sale is hard for me.)

    I like #2 a lot.

    Revision is a good time to get rid of hackneyed phrases and excess verbiage (#3 and #4). Sometimes I don’t notice them the first time around.

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    1. Nicki, I worked in sales for many years. I understand how difficult it can be to want to get someone to buy your stuff. I hated telling people what to do, but that’s what sales is so #1 rings true to me.

      While I understand the reasoning behind #3 [no hackneyed phrases] to me it contradicts #13 that tells you to “make the tone of your letters seem conversational and natural.” In my estimation a little casual language, like a hackneyed phrase, keeps the tone of the letter or blog post light & natural.

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  22. Oh, very good advice. And from 1945! I say this one is a classic. Easily adaptable to blogging, too, yes. Though I would argue that some people prefer blogging over anything because they can say or write whatever and it is fine. Well, mostly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Markus + Micah, I was charmed by this booklet when I found it. The advice is wonderful, albeit the actual writing in the booklet is stilted by today’s standards.

      Laughing here at your observation that some people like blogging better than letter writing because they can say/write whatever they want without consequences. Sending a letter does make for accountability. So true.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. My favourite is, “Make friends with people by understanding their perspective.” It takes the selfishness out of it, and allows for the idea that we don’t have to agree about everything to be friends, or respectful. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kari, I found this booklet and couldn’t put it down. I had to read it all because timeless tips are timeless.

      I’ve never reblogged anything I’ve written here. I’ve revisited topics, but always started each post anew. Don’t know why exactly, but there you have it. My blog, my rules, I guess. πŸ€”

      Liked by 2 people

  24. Good Writing is Good Writing, and it is timeless.

    Your little booklet is sort of the lean, layman’s version of Strunk & White, the bible for all of us diehards.

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    1. nance, well said. This booklet tickled me. It was so earnest yet filled with advice that still rings true. I especially liked how so many of his tips work for blogging.

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  25. Agreed! A fascinating find from 1945. Very little has changed. Your 3 smart writing tips do summarize the 21 points very well. I struggle with “#16. Tell enough to be interesting, but not everything.” I have no clue how to gauge this! My favorite is “#6. Stop writing when you’ve said what you need to say.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara, I’m glad you enjoyed this. I thought it was a fun booklet. I agree about #16. Without visual clues it’s difficult to know if you’re interesting.

      #6 is a good tip, too. I tend to hold myself to that one because who wants to be known for babbling on? Not me.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. No doubt this booklet was on the shelf of typing classrooms…(typing as a credit course “not just for job potential – but for those research papers in college”….they had to tag it a credit course or no one would take it.) does anyone remember typing class …lazy brown fox…
    Keyboarding was in middle schools during the 80’s…but with the early learning/keyboards/computers, do people even need official classes? Hmmm
    Every thing is sales. Everything. Trying to change behavior or ideas, Moms, it’s sales…put it in your resume.(especially teachers – the most difficult sales job of all.)
    Vintage is fun ( and often still timely)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. philmouse, I can imagine that this booklet would have been at home in a typing classroom. I don’t know if there are official classes to teach typing anymore, but that’s a good question. What I found interesting about this booklet is how much of the advice in it is as relevant today as it would have been in 1945.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. On my mirror I have a copy of this message:
    Before you speak, think!
    T is it true?
    H is it helpful?
    I is it inspiring?
    N is it necessary?
    K is it kind?
    This has helped me over and over again when I go to type a comment or an email. We have seen too much hate in the messages we see lately. Thanks for posting about this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellen, I like your acronym. It’s clever and it’s useful and it’s a good guide. I, too, am tired of the haters who seem to have taken hold of this country’s psyche. I aim to be pleasant which can stop a hater in his tracks! πŸ˜‰

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  28. It is nice to hearken back to long ago and more genteel ways – maybe we could try to be kinder to one another in these stressful times. I read the comments on news stories or our City’s Neighborhood Forum and realize that gentility has flown out the window. Well, these are good points for 1945, though the letters might be a bit stilted. I did laugh out loud at some of these, but I also enjoyed the post you did a while back on telephone etiquette.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, this booklet was a glimpse into the past, especially in the way it was written: flowery language with some concrete examples. I agree that to be genteel in our times is more difficult than I imagine it was in 1945. I don’t follow any blogger who isn’t at her core friendly, so in some ways this post was preaching to the choir. I’d forgotten about the phone etiquette post. Thanks for reminding me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve not had any bad encounters here in the blogosphere either Ally. I would not want to revert totally back to that era, but more civility would be grand, er … great. I had a boss who used the word “grand” incessantly. Everything was “grand” and it sounded stilted and archaic whenever he said that. The phone etiquette post was fun and I passed it along to Joni as I knew she would enjoy it and she began following you then.

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  29. I, too, was once what they called a Stenographer – back in the dawn of time …

    I wonder how Mr Buckley would regard “Ducks Newburyport” – the novel which is one stream of consciousness sentence running to over 1,000 pages? πŸ˜‰

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      1. It was Booker shortlisted last year. If I’d been a betting person, I’d have put money on it being the winner … and lost. It’s their kind of “odd”. The length of the book put me off – 1,000 pages is a massive commitment, and no punctuation would make it more of a challenge. I did manage to read (and enjoy) the Booker winner about the Kelly Gang some while back, which was a bit of a ramble. But there was *some* punctuation, there were chapters, and it was shorter. Mr Buckley would’ve had a field day with that one too!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m a fan of punctuation, enjoy chapters, and am a proponent of the idea that one must get to the point as directly as possible. Ducks Newburyport sounds like a nightmare to me. 🀨

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  30. Am surprised, in 1945 they thought about “concise?” Well my blogs wouldn’t make it in their eyes. Verbally I am concise, but my blog posts, run over into different categories, streams without boundaries, for there still needs to be something new in it after 5 days. Actually I “hate” one image and one line. What a waste:) (joking)

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    1. DocJunieper, apparently in the business world being concise was desirable in 1945. I found the booklet enlightening as well as entertaining. I like variety, too. Keep it fresh, keep it eclectic.

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  31. You are exactly right, Ally. these tips ARE good for blogging too. Most of them could fall under the category of common courtesy (especially number 2), something we need more of these days.

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    1. Laurie, I like your idea that these tips lead to common courtesy. I agree that we could use more of that, especially in the next few weeks. 😐

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  32. I love all the advice. I’m pretty sure that I can tend to be long-winded. I don’t know if that’ll ever change. I come from a line of storytellers that always have to give you the back story before they get to the real story. So it’s a long way to the point. lol. It’s a running joke on my mother’s side of the family.

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    1. Amy, we all use words in ways that help us communicate our messages. I liked this booklet, but I don’t think it’s the only way to write or talk. If for you storytelling involves lots of backstory then you gotta go with what works. Besides if we all expressed ourselves in the same way, it’d be one boring world.

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  33. I agree with you there. Society has gotten so disconnected with each other since texting, social media, email. Most schools don’t even teach cursive writing anymore.
    You brought an old lesson to new eyes.

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    1. I’ve heard that cursive writing is no longer on the curriculum. That was one of the few classes I could get an “A” in. Oh well, times change, better or worse.

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