It’s undeniable that writing is one of the most — if not the most — important skill of a public relations professional. He or she must be able to convey a concise and grammatically correct message to the intended audience. One of the strongest foundations for excellent writing skills is, of course, reading. Well-written pieces give the reader examples of effective syntax and proper grammar.
For that reason, I want to just a few of my favorite reads with you (and even my favorite speaker, too). As an introvert, I’ve always found that there is much to be learned through careful and thoughtful observation.
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones employs a simple, whimsical writing style that mirrors its story – a fictional tale of a woman who, cursed by a witch, becomes old and stumbles across the moving castle of a young wizard. Although the book’s intended audience is much younger, I still find it to be a great read in my 20s.
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan employs an excellent use of syntax to reflect the emotional states of its two principal characters. The more “normal” character’s chapters feature proper grammar and capitalization, while the other, who suffers from more than normal teenage angst and depression, is portrayed with no capitalization and little punctuation to reflect his characterization.
- “Unbuttoning My Boy Shirt” by Joy Young is an excellent use of language in spoken word poetry. It makes use of fantastic metaphors and rhythm to create a truly exceptional piece of writing. You can listen to the poem here.
You might say that the professional writing used in public relations scenarios is completely different from fiction novels. However, fiction still provides an opportunity to show the power and nuances in language. For me, it’s a satisfying challenge to try to use both types of writing effectively. However, it all comes down to the purpose for the writing itself — am I trying to make someone laugh with a funny story, or am I writing social media content for my internship? The purpose of the writing should determine your style, but I still find that my love for fiction novels and the thousands of pages I read for my high school English classes has made me a better writer today all around. I think this quote by Ben Jonson puts it best, “For a man to write well, there are required three necessaries: to read the best authors, observe the best speakers, and much exercise of his own style.”