A Plan of Action for Writing Well
Writing is done by everyone. It is no longer a skill that some people are born with and some others are not. In this digital world no literate person can keep away from doing writing in one form or other. Good writing always rests on both craft and creativity. Hard work can take one's writing to amazing heights.
Writing requires good words and right language with clarity. Clear thinking leads to clear writing. The secret of good writing is to avoid clutter. Strip every sentence to its barest bones. To write well, develop a respect for words. Words are the only tool that the writers have got to use. Learn to use words with care and originality. Read what is being written today and what has been written by earlier masters to learn the right use of words. Read those writers who were doing the kind of writing you want to do. There are many styles in writing. Writing can be learned by reading and trying to figure out how it is done. The best way to learn to write is to do some writing regularly.
Use the dictionaries frequently when you want to find what a word means. Using a dictionary is a vocabulary learning exercise. Learn its etymology and the branches of its root. In terms of choice of words, the right source a writer requires, other than a standard dictionary, is 'Henry Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage'. It is an essential practical guide to English usage and style. The prescriptions of usage in Fowler's are nothing but personal advice. They are never viewed as dictates of any god of grammar. 'Dictionary of synonyms' is a useful tool. 'Roget's Thesaurus' is a must for anyone who engages in writing even occasionally. It enlists many choices of words. When you string strong words into sentences, think how they sound. Rhyme and alliteration are vital to every sentence. Bear in mind that the cadences and sonorities of the language while picking up words to coin sentences. Deliberate word play serves as a stimulant so long as it fits into the context and does not sound odd. Bear in mind that a rhyme, a little alliteration and an occasional pun or paradox can enliven the writing. Over use of word play is a patent danger. Equally distracting and disturbing is the word play that falls flat. A bad pun is far worse than no pun at all in most cases. Use reversed word order in sentences to avoid monotony whenever it is possible. Substituting a word with another one in writing and altering the length of a sentence in it can enliven the written piece.
The first sentence should be the most important one. It must force the user to keep reading the next one. There is no firm rule as to how to write a lead but the broad rule about lead is that the reader should not be away so easily. The last sentence in each paragraph should be the spring board to the next one, making all paragraphs often linked into a cohesive whole. Keep your paragraph short. Short paragraph make its look inviting. Visual look of the writing is important.
Verbs push the sentence forward. Most adverbs are unnecessary, so as most adjectives. Use them sparingly. The connecting words like but, however etc. Are mood changers. Use them appropriately. Do not overstate anything. Paragraph is a subtle element that tells the reader how to have organized your thoughts. Each paragraph should have an integrity of content. Tinker a lot on your writing to make it clear and precise.
A writer must know what not to do. The writer must have an ear that can hear the difference between a sentence that limps and a sentence that lilts. A writer with an ear for language will avoid trite phrases. Any writing which consists of short, monosyllable words will endure. Shoddily constructed sentences can be read in many ways. Every sentence must be a logical sequel to the other in a way the rails are crammed into without a link in between in our railway tracks.
When you edit your early drafts in order to improve your writing, do it ruthlessly to cut all redundant words and phrases. Delete all uneconomic fills like flowery adjectives. Avoid trite expressions and flabby phrases. Be clear about choice of words. Use only those words you find appropriate to use, but not one with one syllable more. A long word, that is no better than the short one, needs to be dropped. Clear writing hinges on clear words and sentences. Choose concrete and proactive words. Omit needless words is a sparkling rule of writing. Clear writing hinges on clear words and sentences. Avoid static words. Strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargons need to be avoided. The writing must stop at the right exit. When you presented the facts and made the points, stop writing and then exit.
Rewriting is the essence of writing, as William Zinsser in his classic work 'On Writing Well' says. Rewrite every piece several times.