- Use simple, clear sentences to make your point
Good writers use clear, concise language. They don’t bog down sentences with extra words and long, winding sections. They cut to the chase and make their point in the simplest language possible. Sometimes it’s best to break longer sentences into 2-3 smaller ones.
- Be as specific as possible
People are visual animals – we see things when we read and orient ourselves with images. Give your reader enough specifics to visualize your writing whether you’re writing stories, scripts, or speeches. Use 1-2 powerful images or senses to put the reader in your scene, paragraph, or shoes
- Make connections to help your reader understand your ideas.
Comparing two things, either with a metaphor, simile, or direct comparison, helps your reader make connections or deepens your writing. It gives them something to hold onto that they already understand which helps them understand your writing. You can even make connections to your own story.
- Use adverbs and “fillers” sparingly.
Adverbs, the words that end in -ly and modify actions, are the bane of many great writers. They give a sing-song feel to writing and bog down the meaning of a sentence in useless little modifications. Notice how, in most cases, the adverbs and filler words (like “really” or “very”) don’t add a lot to the sentences
- Treat every paragraph, scene, and chapter like its own small argument.
Great paragraphs should be self-contained. They have a beginning, middle, and end. Otherwise, they don’t actually move the story or essay along. Thought of another way, every paragraph and scene should end in a different place than where it started
- Break all of the previous rules when it feels right.
Sometimes, the best way to get your point across is a long, winding sentence that packs in a multitude of meaning. Occasionally, you really do need adverbs and silly filler words to make a point perfectly. A direct point can be better than an indirect comparison. Sometimes a paragraph is there to provide tone, to slow down the pacing, or pause on a beautiful description, even if it “accomplishes” nothing