Writing Effectively

More fun content will be posted soon, but for now, let’s talk grammar!

Writing with Clarity

Being a PR professional, I have to learn how to articulate my thoughts clearly. Here is an example of a reallllly bad PR mess up and how to fix it.

Poor: I love having brunch at the most crowded times of the day such as 1 p.m.

Better: I love having brunch during the crowded time of 1 p.m.

Reducing Clutter

Again, being concise and eliminating fluff is extremely important for a public relations writer. Here is an example of when to cut to the chase.

Poor: Not any of the seven cats laying in the bed by the window are sleeping peacefully. 

Better: None of the seven cats laying in the bed was asleep.

Sentence Variety

Combing sentences that are unnecessarily wordy into a nice, simple sentence is important for all writers. Here is an example of how to nicely combine sentences.

Poor: All of the animals in the zoo were rowdy. They were jumping around and wailing.

Better: All of the zoo animals were jumping around and wailing.

Sentence Emphasis

Making sure the right pieces are in the right places is necessary for making assertive claims. If the information isn’t aligned properly, the meaning or message could get skewed. In paraphrases, the person attribution comes behind the quote and makes sure that said/says is after the speaker’s classification. Here is an example of correct/clean paraphrasing.

Poor: Hannah Claire stated Wednesday that the murder crime scene was a horrendous sight to see during her lunch hour.

Better: The murder scene was a horrendous sight during her lunch hour, Hannah Claire said.


Thanks for learning something today (hopefully!) Talk to you soon!

– Haley C.



Let’s Get #Social

Alas, Fall 2017! It’s a new start at Gaylord Hall with one of my favorite topics as a class, Social Media Marketing. And just to make it better, it’s taught by no one other than my old boss, Candace, from OU Web Communications, Marketing, and New Media – who now is the social media director for LegalShield.

Our noble steed, and subject of this project, Sonic.

Our noble steed, and subject of this project, Sonic.

Like always, we hit the ground running and our first assignment is the “Social Media Psyche.” With this, we have to create a Facebook profile for a person, item or character and use their personality, culture and more to create their social media page. For this assignment, I’ve taken on the brave soul, Sonic the Hedgehog.

As stated in our assignment, social media is successful if they build a brand and gets results. On Sonic’s Facebook page, I wanted to make sure that he was interacting heavily with members from his team of allies called, “Team Sonic.” I also wanted to include a post from his number one enemy and shows his team members ganging up on the enemy.

I think it’s important to maintain the same kind of voice throughout the characters. Since the Sonic brand is geared towards kids, I aimed to be elementary with my word-choice.

I also found it super important to include a photo with every post. We know, as social media marketers, that people like pictures and videos, and not just a load of text. With all the articles posted to Sonic’s wall, I included a photo and an accurate caption so it would easily depict what was going on in the post.

As learned much earlier, and reminded of this summer, I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due. So thank you, Candace, for teaching me these wise social media tactics as your intern, and letting me put into play as your student. Here we go, fall 2017!

Writing Effectively, Unit 2.1

Writing with clarity– clarity means making your content easy to understand and able to read clearly

Poor: They found the stuffed animal underneath the bed next to the fuzzy slippers.

Better: They found the stuffed animal next to the fuzzy slippers underneath the bed.

Reducing clutter– Try to reduce long clauses to make shorter phrases

Poor: There was literally not one customer in the Sprout’s last night.

Better: Sprout’s didn’t have any customers last night.

Sentence Variety- Using assorted sentence patterns, lengths, and rhythms.

Poor: Marcus High School is being renovated on Tuesday. This is the second time.

Better: Marcus High School, for the second time, is being renovated on Tuesday.

Sentence Emphasis– The simplest way to emphasize something is to tell readers directly that what follows is important.

Poor: President Barack Obama said Monday that the car accident


Type war is a game I’ve played before and I honestly thought it would be much easier because I had previously played. I never truly understood how important typography was because I thought fonts were just there to look pretty. I now work as a marketing coordinator for a marketing and pr firm and I do some graphic design on the side. Working with different fonts is something that I do on a daily basis and matching fonts without knowing the exact name can be tricky. I took this screenshot the third time I played this game this week and I still wasn’t doing very well. This is something that I definitely need to work on because, even though I thought it was silly at first, it truly does help me with what I do every day.

Writing Effectively, Unit 2.1

Throughout this unit in PR writing, I have learned about writing with clarity, reducing clutter, sentence variety and sentence emphasis. This has been interesting because these skills are so important in becoming a good writer. I have constructed examples below to demonstrate what I have learned.

Writing with clarity

Poor: Jim fed the cat food from the dog bowl.

Better:  Jim fed food to the cat from the dog’s bowl. 

Reducing clutter

Poor: Neither of the three students could create complicated designs on the computer program.

Better: The three students couldn’t create designs on the computer.

Sentence variety

Poor: The teacher has written many books on how to use good grammar. She graduated from Stanford with a degree in journalism. 

Better: The teacher, journalism graduate from Stanford, has written many books on how to use good grammar. 

Sentence emphasis

Poor: Sandy’s grandma gave us a series of speeches about how today’s society doesn’t use correct grammar. 

Better:  Today’s society doesn’t use correct grammar, according to Sandy’s grandma’s speeches. 

Hopefully these examples have demonstrated the important of using good writing skills. Thank you for reading.

Writing Effectively

There are several ways to ensure that your writing is effective in both its message and its delivery. Some basic core concepts for effective writing are as follows:

Writing with clarity

This means that a sentence should be clearly written so that it is easily understood.  Here’s an example:

The book was hidden with a broken cover.

The problem with this sentence is we don’t know whether the book has a broken cover or if it is hidden underneath a cover that is broken.

Here is a better version:

The book with a broken cover was hidden.

Reducing clutter

Clutter is the use of unnecessary wording that make a sentence harder to comprehend. Here’s an example followed by a  better version:

The old person who is a man is as old as the hills.

The man is old.

Eliminating redundancies and cliches makes the sentence simpler. It is easily read and sounds better.

Sentence Variety

Not all sentences should sound the same. Differing lengths and styles of sentences can keep a reader intrigued. For example:

Jimmy is old. Jimmy owns a house on the hill. Jimmy hates kids.


Jimmy, the older man who owns a house on the hill, hates kids.

Which would you rather read? It is easier, and more enjoyable, to read one well crafted sentence than three blunted and repetitive sentences.

Sentence Emphasis

Sentence emphasis is the focusing of importance on a word or phrase in a sentence. This importance is usually given to the beginning of the sentence. For example:

The keynote speaker at the UN conference revealed the death toll from the latest missile strike by North Korea.


Death tolls from the latest missile strike by North Korea were revealed at the UN conference by the keynote speaker.

In this case the more important information is quickly given to the reader.

With simple fixes like the ones listed above, your writing will become more readable, without sacrificing brevity or content.





reflection . . .


 Unit 1.3 was titled “Welcome to Bootcamp” which accurately describes this unit. I was asked to watch multiple videos explaining how to understand Photoshop and InDesign. These videos were extremely helpful since these are completely new concepts to me. After watching the videos I was given three assignments, a newspaper markup assignment, a typesetting assignment and a reflection blog post (this!)

I was actually pretty excited to get started on these assignments, I have been wanting to learn how to use InDesign and Photoshop for a few years now. I would say my response was positive and I attempted to just take my time and really focus on what I was asked to do, which turned out to be beneficial for me.

I would describe my reaction to this unit as a little overwhelmed. The typesetting assignment took quite a while to figure out but I managed to learn many tips and tricks from the Lynda videos to complete the assignment.

I think I was at first overwhelmed because I have never taken a class like this before, in high school or college. Everything I have done so far for this course has been new to me, but I am excited to learn more about Photoshop & InDesign and get one step further in my major!

Finished Multi-Touch Application – File size nightmares!

So I finished our Apple Distinguished School Application yesterday but had my regular last 24 or 48 hours of drama..

This time, it was due to file size.  Submission guidelines said it should be between 250 and 400 MB complete..  so when I finished the size was 1.5 GB..!!!!!

I spent 2 days whining (it was my own mistake) and asking for help and finally got the file size down to 394.3 MB often at 1 to 10 MB at a time.. (resizing, resaving, and editing pictures and videos)

So now that I have slept some, I want to figure out some best practices and I want to reach out to my Ibooks Author Friends to come up with some tips on making the project go better for others next time.

So here is what i have already learned, and honestly its more questions than answer…

  1. Make sure to not do screen shots that are saved as PNG – but edit them down to JPG.
    1. But what is the best resolution?
    2. What is an adequate size? (may even iPhone picture results in a huge picture) – Ibooks author – will mask the clip but not take out the original.
  2. Movies – I took the movies down to iPod touch level using QuickTime – but I really did not gain much space .
    1. What is the optimal movie size for Ibooks author?
    2. What is adequate for iPad and retina displays?
  3. Getting the most bang for your buck – as I deleted stuff – sometimes the file size would even go up with my replacements – I books author optimizes movies -so often a few MB smaller movie in a another format (.mov versus .m4v) could increase file size.   Is there a rule for this?

Apple has a support page for this (Thanks John Shoemaker for this)   https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202391  but it is pretty vague –

What are some best practices for file management with Ibooks Author..  I don’t want to have to this late night party ever again.

Please comment on this blog so maybe I can make it a resource for others?


Reading People by Anne Bogel: A Personality Handbook for Fiction Writers

I was selected as a member of the launch team for Reading People by Anne Bogel, and I was really excited to dive in. I received a free advanced copy of the book in exchange for some social media buzz and bloggy love.

Reading People by Anne Bogel is a great book for writers who want to learn about different personalities they can give their characters.

Full disclosure: I’ve never been into personality typing, and the book is basically a survey course in the subject. I’d read little things about personality types, but I never cared. In fact, in high school we had to take a personality test to determine what sort of major we should pick in college. (I think it was a cheap knock-off of the Myers-Briggs test.) The result I got was writer or teacher, which was no surprise to me then. Basically, I’m so introverted and spend so much time digging around inside my head that I always know what I want.

(I do get fairly irritated when people say they don’t know what they want, though. LIKE HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?! YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF. SIT DOWN AND FIGURE IT OUT.)

Anyway. Here I am now, working as a writer and a teacher. Thanks, cut-rate MBTI test from high school!

Did you have to take the poor man's MBTI test in high school?
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So all of this probably sounds like I’m the worst possible person to review Reading People.


Here’s the deal. As a writer, I’m enamored with different personalities. I create characters that get to play off one another, and I have to understand how different personalities can clash. (I’ve even thought about what kind of character I’d like to be in fiction!)

Reading People by Anne Bogel

Sure, you could create a story with some tired archetypes — “I wonder how this uptight librarian might converse with a swashbuckling pirate?” While I’ve never read that particular story before, I’d really want those characters to be more than just two stereotypes. Instead, you could look to the different personality types and the tests used for quantifying them to get the most out of your characters and conflict.

And that is why I’m wholeheartedly endorsing Reading People by Anne Bogel as a writer’s field guide for creating new and different characters.

What makes Reading People different?

I took a personality psychology class in grad school, and to say it was arduous was an understatement. But I really enjoyed making my way through Reading People. Why? Well here’s the thing about Anne Bogel’s writing: It’s like watching your favorite PBS show. (If PBS were to create a show about drinking warm beverages and talking about books, I’d recommend Anne to host. PBS hasn’t contacted me to discuss this, but I thought I’d throw this out there.)

Anne is always informative AND friendly. She doesn’t talk down to you in her book or on her blog, ModernMrsDarcy.com. In fact, her style is basically like meeting with a friend for coffee and just chatting.

And the kicker here for all you bookish fiends — my homegirl doesn’t just explain the personality types using basic descriptions. She tells you which of your favorite characters fit into what types! It’s the best because not only do you start to really see what the different personality frameworks mean, but since you’ve already been in that character’s head (if you’ve read the book), you get that insight into the personality type she’s describing!

Reading People by Anne Bogel

Why do fiction writers need Reading People?

For me, one of the biggest things I struggle with is making my characters fully-formed humans. Sure, my protagonist is fleshed out to the max, so much so that sometimes I see them on the street when I’m walking to work. But my others characters?

Not so much.

Reading People by @AnneBogel is a good resource for creating characters! #ReadingPeopleBook
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Stories need characters, and those characters have to experience conflicts. And what better way to figure out how to get two characters to butt heads than by figuring out which personality types butt heads?

So in order to figure out how my protagonist would interact with others, it’s great to have access to all those personality frameworks in an enjoyable-to-read book. Also, you’d be hard-pressed to find another book that covers introversion vs. extroversion, highly sensitive people, the Five Love Languages, Keirsey’s Temperaments, the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Clifton StrengthsFinder, and the Enneagram. This book is functionally a complete survey of the topic.

For example, I’ve been working on a scene in a novel where there is a lot of tension between a two characters who obviously like each other, but struggle expressing that to the other person in a way that they other person responds to. I made one of the characters a words of affirmation love language, and the other one is a physical touch love language.

(Clearly my characters need to read this book too so we can get over the tension and just get on with the story!)

And while this isn’t something I state in the actual text, it’s there in the planning and plotting phases to help me craft the story.

How can you get your hands on Reading People by Anne Bogel?

Reading People doesn’t come out until September 19 so you should pre-order now. If you pre-order, you get the audiobook free — read by Anne — and the online “What’s Your Reading Personality?” class.

Reading People by Anne Bogel

Have you pre-ordered your copy of #ReadingPeopleBook by @AnneBogel yet?
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So, tell me. What’s your favorite personality typing framework? What two personality types would you like to see in conflict in fiction? Did you also have to take the poor man’s MBTI test in high school? 

The post Reading People by Anne Bogel: A Personality Handbook for Fiction Writers appeared first on Marisa Mohi.

© COPYRIGHT MARISA MOHI 2016 All rights reserved. This content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means, without the prior written permission of the author.

Thursday, August 31

Today is Thursday of WEEK 2. If you have not done your story yet for this week, that means today is Storytelling Day. Go wild! Have fun! Here is a link to all of this week's assignments.

Class Procedures and Reminders

Introductions. I've read and replied to all the Introductions! At least, I think I got to everyone; I'll double-check on that today. Meanwhile, as more and more people do the Week 2 Comments, you will be getting comments from other people in class.

Project Stack. As people turn in the Project assignment each week (it's the only assignment for which you send me an email), I then record that in the Stack. While you are waiting on comments back from me about your Project, you can check the Stack to make sure I received your email.

Storytelling Style. Since a lot of people are writing their story on Thursday each week, I'll try to share a style idea each Thursday. For today, I wanted to share this option: Social Media Style. If you want to create some fake-Twitter or fake-Facebook graphics using the Simitator, you could also count that as an extra credit Tech Tip too, and then include those graphics in your story post. Here's what the Simitator looks like for creating Twitter graphics, and you can also use it to create Facebook graphics.

The following items are for fun and exploration:

English Proverb. As you are creating new stories inspired by old stories, consider this proverb: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Storybook Archive. This project is from the Indian Epics class: Lord Rama: The Greatest OU Football Player. Thanks to a Time-Travel Machine, Coach Stoops and Coach Switzer are able to recruit India's greatest to play for the Sooner team.

Free Book Online: Today's free book is The Fairy Ring by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith. See the Freebookapalooza blog for links and the table of contents. This is a collection of fairy tales from around the world; the illustrations are by Elizabeth MacKinstry:

Story of the Day. Today's story is from India: The Wise Physician. This story about a grieving mother is a famous Buddhist parable.

Video: The video for today is Art in the OU Libraries. I'm a huge fan of the OU Libraries... and if you haven't visited Bizzell lately, go see the great things going on!

Growth Mindset: Today's growth mindset cat is following some advice from the writer Neil Gaiman: Do things you've never done before. You can find out more at the Growth Mindset blog.

Event on Campus: Professor Pamela Genova will be giving a lecture on Amélie Nothomb at 4:30PM in 138 Kaufman Hall (details). Find out more about this and other events at the Campus Calendar online.

August 31: Day of Arafah. This year the Day of Arafah is August 31; it is second day of the Hajj pilgrimage when the pilgrims go to Mount Arafah, where the Prophet Muhammad gave his farewell sermon. You can read more about this holiday at Wikipedia, and this photograph shows pilgrims on the mountain:

Check out the Twitter stream for information and fun stuff during the day, or click here for past announcements.