Best Tips for Good Writing0
When I taught a class in public relations at Columbia College in Chicago, a fellow teacher shared with me Frank Visco’s original list of tips for good writing, entitled How to Write Good.
Over the years, I read additional points. Similar lists began to surface. I threw everything in a folder until last month when I decided to cull the list for a writing workshop in Melbourne. No, it’s not as concise as Visco’s original list but it also covers more of the basics.
I’m a clearly a word geek. This list always makes me chuckle.
- A writer should not shift your point of view.
- Alors! Why use words from another language?
- Always avoid alliteration.
- Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
- As you know, don’t repeat what the audience already understands.
- Avoid &s and abbrev., etc.
- Avoid clichés like the plague. They’re old hat.
- Be careful of commas, that, are not, necessary.
- Be more or less specific.
- Choose words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
- Do not use hyperbole. Only one in a million can do it effectively.
- Don’t never use no double negatives.
- Each sentence has one point, and you should write in short sentences too.
- Exaggeration is a gazillion times worse than understatement.
- Exclamation marks aren’t necessary!
- If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be eliminated by rereading and editing.
- It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
- It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
- It’s true when you think about this point: put the important message at the beginning of the sentence.
- Just delete unnecessary words. No, really.
- Like, you know, avoid colloquialisms.
- Never use a big word when utilising a diminutive alternative would suffice.
- No sentence fragments.
- One should never generalize.
- One-word sentences? Eliminate.
- Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
- Passive voice is to be avoided.
- Pick on the correct idiom.
- Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
- Profanity sucks.
- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
- Subject and verb always has to agree.
- Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
- The spell chekker helps to avoid mispelingz.
- There’s no reason to repeat yourself, or say again what you’ve already said.
- Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit when its not needed.
- Using more words than necessary is highly superfluous.
- Who needs rhetorical questions?
- Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
Any other comments you’d add?