Suraya Dewing's blog

Adverbs: Friend or foe?

One of the students I meet with at Kristin School asked if using adverbs was a good practice.

It was a good question because I frequently see writing that is heavy in its use of adverbs. As I read, I watch the energy seep away with each appearance.

This has undoubtedly led to Stephen King’s proclamation ‘the road to hell is paved with adverbs . . . .’

The Style Guide changes the way we write.


Isn’t it embarrassing when you discover that what you preach isn’t what you do. Recently I reviewed our communications. Many were written before we had the Style Guide™. However, there really is no excuse for sending out letters that do not reflect the excellence in style we say others should be aiming to achieve.


Every blog I write goes through the Style Guide and almost every other communication does also. In fact, I re-wrote copy on our website when I discovered it did not land in the grid.


Put the 'wow' factor in your writing

How do you put the ‘wow’ factor into what you write? I have discovered that the Style Guide™ is fantastic for doing this. I have watched how writing takes on a warmer, more approachable tone as the writing is shifted from one part of the grid to another.

So let’s take a look at a simple paragraph.

“My hands reached across the desk and gripped the pen so hard it slipped and hit the ink well. Ink spilled everywhere. All of a sudden a blot of blue spread out in various hues of colour. The desk sat in the middle of the room and was very badly stained.”

Everything starts with imagination

Imagination is deceptive: It looks like nothing’s happening

‘The doubters said, “Man cannot fly.” The doers said, “Maybe, but we’ll try.” And finally soared in the morning glow. While non-believers watched from below.’ Bruce Lee


War in our Life Time

At the beginning of 1980, I placed a bet with a workmate that before the turn of the century we would have world peace. I was so confident of this we placed a significant amount of money on the bet. I’m not a gambling person, but that was how confident I felt back then.

The people who influence us

This blog is in honour of my mother-in-law who recently passed away.

It all comes down to respect

Being a girl is a risky business.

Nothing has brought this home to me more emphatically than the recent revelations of Rolf Harris’ assaults on young girls, which started in the 1960s.

Two things have shocked me about the Rolf Harris story. The first is that his assault on young girls was so blatant and public. The second is that it never stopped and that he is one of many people who have abused their position of power and celebrity.

Story Design

Characters step into your imagination, they take up residence and before you know it you are telling their stories. You pick the moment or moments in their lives you are going to tell and you create the setting, situation and outcome.  That is the magic of storytelling. You occupy someone else’s life and you tell their story and in a strange way some of that story becomes your own.

The master storyteller shares the journey in such a way that the reader feels as if there is no one else making the journey – just the reader and the writer.

Proving your idea has legs

When I went into the ecentre in 2011, I was challenged to validate my business idea. This meant researching and testing the market to see if it had legs. Validating what I believed was a fantastic idea that would work and be very successful was a truly challenging experience.

Intersecting Lives

This is a story about two women whose lives took different paths. When I was in my twenties I had a small catering business in Taranaki.  Through it, I made many friends. One was special. May was a little bit older than me and when she came into the coffee lounge (that’s what they were called back then), she was surrounded by friends laughing and sharing their thoughts about voluntary work they had just done at the museum nearby.


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