Good writing, particularly for the mass media, is clear, concise and to the point. It transmits information, ideas and feelings to the reader clearly but without overstatement. It is your writing that outlines pictures of ideas which the reader fills in with his or her own imagination. A well written piece uses words for their exact meaning. So, it’s precise, and uses minimum words to make it’s point. A good write-up is a study in effortlessness. It must flow freely.
I’ll try to explain here some basics of all these, but it would be you who would’ve to take up the cudgel and get in to the act.
For, mostly writing is “for the people,” first of all you have to choose a subject of compelling interest. Your sources of information should be authentic for the sake of Credibility of write-up and above all yourself as a writer. Then also, you should plan to use colourful and entertaining material examples, anecdotes and facts to spice your write-up. The article should contain a strong element of appeal. Some subjects have more appeal than others.
The norms, good for a news item, that we read or listen every-day life, are also good for every write-up. Those are, in common parlance, proximity, prominence, timeliness, conflicts, bizarre and currency. Some other elements are—glamour, sex, success, human interest and competition.
Now, we’re coming to the specifics. Writing is not simply an inherent talent that some of you may be having, and some other won’t be. There are steps that all of us can take, to improve our writing skills. At times, to produce a good write-up, you’ve to learn to combine all these, according to your own consciousness.
Also remember, writing doesn’t happen all in a sudden, it’s a hard work, it’s physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. And this in not to frighten any. It’s just a fact that to tell you about a phenomenon that every good writer passes through.
Some golden tips for a good write-up are to be considered guidelines for ensuring that what your writing comes of standard. These are –
1- Write simply—simplicity is the best way to achieve clarity. And also, as a student, a beginner, in the professional writing, it’s very easy exercise to write in a simple manner.
2- Use simple words – many people think big or complicated words will impress the reader. In fact, it has opposite effects. Benjamin Franklin once said, it is better to write ease instead of facilitate, many instead of numerous and use instead of utilize, on words.’
3- Use simple sentences – it is easier to write five simple sentence than one complex or compound sentence. Long winding sentences only distract a reader.
4- Economize on words – mostly writers use too many words in their drafts. A careful editor deletes these at the time of editing. Even this bygone sentence itself can be written in a simpler way – like — “a careful editor edits this out.”
5- Do not use Jargon – each group of people has a technical language of their own, that’s called jargon. They’re understood only by the selected group. Your writings shouldn’t cut people off from receiving your ideas by a language that they cannot understand. You should rather explain the jargon if you’ve to use it. Your aim should be to make your message clear to the people who have no direct relationship to such groups.
6- Avoid Adjectives – adjectives and adverbs are often superfluous. You should build up your sentences around nouns and verbs. Even you can try to write two simple sentences, than to use one adjective. You should select good active verbs to enliven your copy. A good verb denotes action, and a ‘better’ verb denotes action and description. So choose your verb carefully. It will reverberate and rejuvenate your copy. Also remember, adverbs and adjectives modify, and thus limits your thoughts. And verbs expand your thoughts, and thus the writing.
7- Tie together, avoid jolts – your writing should be well-knitted. In the sense, while writing, you knit not only the words alone, but the thoughts as well. Readers should be able to read through a piece of writing without stops or surprises. while introducing a new idea or piece of information, do not do so without tying it to other parts of a story. Springing up with sudden thoughts jolts a reader, and then like a sudden jerk on a smooth road, he is thrown off balance. Connect any information in a story to information already introduced. And for so, you have to develop a mental discipline and read your copy with discerning eyes. Expect your reader to condemn you for any folly you make in the copy. Remember, for a reader, your name is immaterial. For them you are either a good or bad writer.
8- Be specific – Brevity is the soul of bit. Just as one try to avoid someone who talks too much, so do readers about writings, which have too many superfluous or high-sounding words or Pilings of phrases or long winding sentences that have run out of thoughts. Eliminate all that which you have said once. You have to have accuracy and clarity; but never try to sacrifice these for the sake of brevity. If some facts need explanation, then do not economize on sentences. And instead of one long sentence, it is better to explain it in five simple sentences. To be specific, get to the point, be focused. For so, decide on the theme of the write-up, and weave your story around it. Once you have done this, both, writing and editing would be so easier.
9- Avoid repetitions and redundancies – Both of these traits often show lack of discipline on the part of the writer. Sometimes facts need to be repeated, but that is not the case very often.
10- Cut out unnecessary words — it’s been told already to avoid adjectives and adverbs. As we write, such words often creep in. Be alert to weed these words out. Quite often we write words, like – really, actually, very, in fact in such a way. These words do not tell much to the readers. Rather they tell nothing. This will also help you in keeping your story trim & fit it into the limited space of a magazine or newspaper.
Hoping these a few precise tips would help you better in achieving the goal of mastering the art of writing. But the bottom is the top– Above all you have to have a good and sincere reader beforehand, to be a good writer..