Writing is a craft that must be honed and any seasoned writer will agree that good writing is not just following grammar rules. An impressive written work intrigues the reader, flows effortlessly off the tongue, and is easily understood the first time. If you’re looking to improve upon your technique, here are some valuable tips that you should know.
• Don’t Keep the Reader Guessing – The main idea should be disclosed within the first sentence. Introducing the main topic in the second or third sentence may seem as if it creates intrigue but what it really does is cause the reader to lose interest.
• Be an Active Writer – Avoid passive voice at all costs. Readers want excitement and exciting sentences have the subject performing the action. Turn “The class is taught by Mrs. Mondale” into “Mrs. Mondale teaches the class” and you’ll keep your reader’s attention.
• Reduce Adverb Use – Adverbs tend to downplay important adjectives and nouns. Let them speak for themselves by scanning for and removing any vague word constructions ending in “ly.” Readers are more intrigued by an “enormous bear” than they are an “overly large bear.”
• Know When to Keep it Short and Sweet – Writing that is composed of more long sentences than short produces less emphasis than those that vary sentence length. Longer sentences should explain ideas, while short sentences should intensify those ideas.
• Begin or End with Key Points – The main topic of a sentence should never get consumed by the context. Ideally, you should place them at the end of the sentence; however, beginning with them works as well.
• Include a Variety of Structures and Sentence Types – When writing to intrigue the casual reader, including command words or questions are important. This helps the reader feel involved. Using a blend of compound, complex, and simple sentences also is a wonderful way to break the monotony.
• Be Specific – Vague writing is frustrating. Focus on words and statements that are clear and specific so the reader gets a pure idea of what you mean.
• Eliminate the Clutter – Sometimes we overuse descriptive words. If a sentence can be read without a word, it is likely adding nothing to the meaning; eliminate it.
• Read it Aloud – When reading aloud we make better use of proper sentence structure. It is much easier to hear misplaced pauses, inadequate tones, deficient emphasis, incompetent syntax or other detrimental errors than when reading silently.
It is important to remember that although 10 ways to improve your writing skills and reading styles differ, most people enjoy works that flow smoothly and get to the point quickly. By making use of these tips, you’ll be sure to receive a better critique on your next written piece.