Chapter 3 of the textbook has some very useful insights on the topic of grammar and sentence structure. Filak’s mention of an author’s credibility being his “stock-in-trade” is absolutely true (p. 38). If a writer has no credibility, what does he have? Nothing. I liked his statement: “if one component [of a sentence] is weak, the whole machine suffers” (p. 39). Sentence structure is one of the most important ways for a writer to get his point across. Many people think that embellishing makes their writing sound more sophisticated, but it actually just tends to clutter the sentence structure and take away from the initial idea the writer is trying to convey.
I thought is was very interesting how Filak mentioned that sometimes grammar actually gets in the way of a writer’s main idea. I’ve always been one for correct grammar, but I agree that sometimes it can actually misconstrue what the author was trying to say, or confuse the audience he is trying to reach. I also liked his section on how reading aloud can help a writer find his mistakes. I’ve found this to be true in my own writing.
In chapter 4, Filak talks about the inverted pyramid. I find this useful because I would normally write in a chronological order. However, by writing the outcome of the story first, the writer catches his audience’s attention and gives them a reason to keep reading.
In chapter 8, he mentions knowing background information before going to an event. This seems like common sense to me; but the more I read, the more I understood. Covering an event seems like an easy task, because all a writer is reporting is what took place. However, if he has no beforehand knowledge of the event, topic, or people he is covering, his story is likely to be bare and boring. The audience members he is trying to reach will likely pick up on this and look elsewhere for their source of news on the event. Post-event interviews are also extremely helpful, because they may be able to fill in gaps the spokesperson has left out. They also may be able to explain some of the formal language and jargon at the event that readers may possibly be confused by.