On writing well


Anyone who think clearly can write clearly. Be yourself when you write and it will make you stand-out as a real person among the robots.

The essence of writing is rewriting. Avoid clutter. Clutter and banality are enemies of good writing. The quickest fix to improve a sentence can be simply getting rid of that sentence. Keep your paragraphs short. Don't overstate. Assume the readers knows nothing. Use words that have surprise, strength and precision. Use a thesarus to search for words - the author suggests Roget's Thesarus.

When writing personal story, use I instead of writing in third person person because it is your story and using I connects with the readers.

Humor tools like satire, lampoon, comedy, irony, parody are great tools for disguising serious points. Humor is built on surprises. More humor is found in the True than the outlandish and scorn.

In business writing, don't use special vocabulary and technical jargons if an idea could be used in a simpler, warm and comfortable phrase. This gives a more humanely nature to the writing.

On science writing, think of it as an upside down pyramid. Start from the one fact the reader must know before he can know any more. Then, every further sentence broadens the earlier sentence. To make science writing more accessible, write like a person and not like a scientist.

When writing about places, interview the local men and women - the shop keepers, old-timers, park rangers etc. Ask them questions about the places - why do you think people visit these places, why do you think it is special, what does the place signifies to them and more.

To write about people, get people talking. Learn to ask questions that will elicit answers about what is more interesting or vivid in their lives. The best way to practice is to go out and interview people. Never go on an interview without doing homework about the subject of interview.

Writing is linear and sequential and logic is the glue that holds it together. Tension must be maintained from one sentence to the next and from one paragraph to the next paragraph and from one section to the next section. You must build a narrative trajectory and have control over it. Readers can process only one idea at a time and they do it in linear sequence.

If you would like to write better than everybody else, you have to want to to write better than everybody else. You must take obsessive pride in the smallest detail of your craft.

There is a kind of writing in that sounds so relaxed you think the author is speaking to you - that's a good writing. Read what you have written aloud and see if you like the sound of your voice.

Imitation is a part of learning any craft. Read the works of writers whom you admire aloud. The only way to learn writing is by writing - force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.