Full Circle Communications

June 2016
Be a Better Freelancer
October 26-29

Social media for writers. Winning book proposals. Making technology work for you.
These are some of the great sessions planned for the 11th annual Be a Better Freelancer conference later this month--October 28-19, in Rochester, NY.

Go to the conference website for more information or to register.

I spoke at this conference last year and found the presentations and fellow participants very enlightening.
past issues
Is this newsletter useful?

There's more.

past issues on such topics as design tips for writers and speechwriting.

pass it on!
If you find the content in this newsletter useful, 
  • send it to a colleague   
  • share it through Twitter, Facebook, etc.  
  • republish in your blog, newsletter, or other media (credit to the source)
  • check out the Archives of past issues 
check us out
Join Our Mailing List
ease in writing?
"Ease in writing" comes from a poem by Alexander Pope, the British poet:
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, 
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. 
Note he (and I) didn't say "easy writing." But just as dance lessons can help get you around the floor more gracefully, the goal for this newsletter is to share a tip or two to improve your writing.

Recipient of Constant Contact All Star Awards, 2011 through 2015!

May I Quote You?

Taking Notes
In last month's newsletter, I wrote about interviewing people to make best use of their time and gain the information they need.

  1. Your source's comment is particularly colorful, insightful, poignant, or otherwise memorable, and the reader needs to see it in his or her own words;
  2. Your source is a recognized expert, the CEO, a celebrity, or other VIP, and you need a few direct quotes to enhance the credibility of your piece and to show readers the style in which the VIP speaks.
Decide how you will revise (if at all) quotes. What, you say, change a quote? Blasphemous. I do not mean altering the meaning and certainly not making something up. But what about fixing a grammatical error? Or if two relevant points are interspersed with a side conversation about the weather? If your publication does not have a clear guideline, use your professional discretion. William Zinsser, in On Writing Well, counseled brevity and fair play in making adjustments. I consider that sound advice.

A related problem: the emailed quote. If the only way you can conduct an interview is via email, the result is often long paragraphs as responses. Do your source a favor and make any direct quotes sound like they came from the mouth of a human being. You can email the revised version back for approval, if requested.

This, in turn, brings us to another sticky situation--
when your source asks to vet your finished piece. Some publications have strict rules about this, which, of course, you will follow. Otherwise, consider sending the excerpt with the source's quotes, but not the whole article. An exception might be a technical topic outside your usual expertise that could benefit from the source's review.

Finally, note-taking or recording the interview? The situation dictates your choice. If you have only one chance to talk to your source, and you must capture his or her exact words, use a recorder. Ask permission, and practice using the machine without freaking out. If you can return to the source and you want more of a casual conversation, stick with notes.
Direct versus Indirect Quotes

In case you have forgotten:

A direct quote is the exact words from a source, contained within quotation marks: "Our emphasis is going to on ride-sharing and additional transit services," said Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne.  

An indirect quote paraphrases what the source says. The above might read something like this: According to Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, the department will emphasize ride-sharing and additional transit services.
Full Circle Communications, LLC / Alexandria, VA / 703.212.0350