Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What's Your Point?

Before you start writing, ask yourself this: "do I know what my point is? What is my point?" Define it for yourself.

I can ususally tell when I see poor writing because I begin asking "what's the point?". Readers should not have to ask this question. If they do, the writer is making them work too hard, or has become lost in the superfluous.

The old adage "First tell the reader what you're going to say, then say it, then tell them what you said." is one way of making your point. But, it's not always necessary and carries its own risks (like boring your reader or wasting their time). Usually you can make your point once, as long as it's clear and not lost in the mix.

During your final review assure that you have in fact made your point. Have I made my point?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Writing Tip 10

Editing -

To improve your editing, make it a multistep process. First, examine the document for grammar, syntax, wordiness, and sentence structure.

Then, once you've completed the initial clean up, start again focusing on overall content presentation and logical flow. Rearrange accordingly.

Third, examine again carefully for extra words that may appear after reorganizing.

Finally, ask a few questions:
  • Is there an informational gap that needs a bridge?
  • Does anything need highlighting or headlining?
  • Could content be presented more efficiently in a different paragraph format, such as bullet lists or offset?