About Marcia Riefer Johnston

Author of "Word Up!" and "You Can Say That Again"

Be-verb Bumper Stickers Make a Comeback

A car pulled up next to my Prius at a stoplight in downtown Portland. The driver opened her window and asked, “What does your bumper sticker mean?” Through my passenger window, I told her that it means to look for verbs like “is” and “were” and “are,” and then consider how you might reword to make the writing tighter and more impactful. “You made my day,” she said. Continue reading

Hemingway’s Style and Today’s Business Writer

My commitment to writing traces back to the moment I discovered “The Hemingway Reader.” It’s one of the books I’d grab if our house were on fire. The observations and excerpts in Charles Poore’s foreword have shaped my writing efforts in journalism, playwriting, fiction, poetry, technical writing, marketing writing—every kind of writing I’ve ever done. Continue reading

How Do a Bunch of People Write with One Voice?

The trouble with companies is that they’re full of people, and people insist on having unique personalities and distinct voices. It’s no wonder that, when we take an honest look at our content, issues of consistency and tone of voice invariably creep into our conversations. Continue reading

How to Write the Kind of Descriptions Your Readers Crave

Your readers crave descriptions so compelling that they see, smell, touch, hear … experience what you’ve put into words. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, for pleasure or for pay, Ali Shaw’s new video explains how you can meditate your way to the descriptive details that may be eluding you. Continue reading