By Grace Cherian Below you will find a list of eight tips I’ve put together so that you can write more effectively. I trust you will find them u...
By Grace Cherian
Below you will find a list of eight tips I’ve put together so that you can write more effectively. I trust you will find them useful.
First, reduce the effort your readers need to understand you.
1. Shorten sentences. A sentence is just one idea. No more. No less.
2. Remove meaningless and unnecessary phrases in sentences such as redundancies and oxymorons. Oxymorons consist of two words, one of which contradicts the other. Examples of oxymorons: ‘open secret,’ ‘deafening silence,’ ‘alone together,’ etc.
3. Deflate fat words. Remove prefixes and suffixes grafted onto shorter roots, and watch your words sparkle.
4. Reduce negatives. Every negative inserts a layer of opaqueness and makes it more difficult for readers to understand your writing. Multiple negatives increase the difficulties exponentially.
Second, improve energy levels. Verbs do the hard work in writing. Keep those verbs moving!
5. Eliminate the equations. Almost every use of the verb “to be” (e.g., “am,” “are,” “was,” “were,” “be,” “been,” “being”) lowers the energy level of the sentence a bit. Equating verbs (e.g., “is”) reduce the energy level to zero. Find the real action in the sentence, and turn that word into a verb.
6. Activate the passives. Passive verbs create passive readers. But all passive verbs began life as active verbs. Increase the energy and vitality of your writing by converting them back to active verbs.
Example of a passive verb or voice: You are loved by me.
Express the same sentence, using the active voice and it becomes: I love you.
The second sentence is much more energetic than the first.
Finally, help your readers along with their thinking. Provide clear directions to point readers along their way.
7. Lead with strength. Find the sentence, paragraph or illustration that will best grab and hold your reader’s attention. And move it to the beginning.
8. Tune up topic sentences. Start a new paragraph every time you shift to a new point of view, and use the topic sentence to keep the thread of meaning flowing.
If you run out of time—or energy—do only those steps that will most improve your writing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have time to do them all. Carrying out any of the steps above will significantly improve your writing.
Print out the text. You’ll never catch as many slips on screen as you will on paper. Do a final check for obvious errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
To your health!
Grace Cherian is a natural health copywriter. You may visit her website at http://www.gracecherian.com.