Canadian Online Publishing Awards

Congratulations to the Tyee, which has been nominated for seven Canadian Online Publishing Awards.

The nominations include a project I worked on for the Tyee Solutions Society with reporters Christopher Pollon and Geoff Dembicki, editor Chris Wood, TSS director
Michelle Hoar and TSS acting director Fen Hsiao. B.C.’s Quest for Carbon Neutrality looked at British Columbia’s climate change policies four years after former premier Gordon Campbell launched one of the most ambitious climate strategies anywhere.

In the online awards “green division” (daily and weekly newspapers and broadcasters), the Toronto Star was nominated 14 times and the CBC 10. The Globe and Mail has eight nominations and the Huffington Post, the Grid and The Tyee each have seven.

The Tyee story about the nominations is here. And there’s a full list of the nominations here.

‘Omit needless words! Omit needless words! Omit…’

My favourite writing coach, Roy Peter Clark, has written a splendid tribute to William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well.

Zinsser’s best-known book is now in its 30th anniversary edition, having sold more than a million copies. Seeing as it’s probably the best book on writing nonfiction, that’s nice to know.

Writing on, Clark celebrates two pages of On Writing Well that reproduce a marked-up draft of the book.

For the record, they are pages 10 and 11 in my edition. I’ve studied them until my eyes bleed. I’ve shared them with countless aspiring writers, young and old. There have never — I say never! — been two pages in a writing text as practical, persuasive and revealing as pages 10 and 11. Like the music ethos articulated by the likes of Miles Davis and Tony Bennett, Zinsser demonstrates in writing that there are notes in a composition (words in his case) that the artist should leave out.

Pages 10 and 11 show how Zinsser slashed words and phrases that most of us would lazily let stand. The result is tighter, clearer and more powerful. “Faced with such a variety of obstacles” becomes “faced with these obstacles.” “He tends to blame himself” becomes “He blames himself.” “Two or three different” becomes “several.”

As Zinsser says, “rewriting is the essence of writing.”