300 Days of Better Writing

August 28, 2014

Use concluding words to state your main point.


When you are writing a document to persuade your reader about an idea, you present your supporting ideas or evidence leading up to the main point. If you do this well, your reader will come to the same conclusion that you are trying to make.
To show that you have finished making your argument (i.e., completed writing about the reasons for your idea) and are about to state the main idea, you use a concluding word. A concluding word tells the reader, “Based on this information, I conclude that . . . .” Sample concluding words and phrases are thus, therefore, in conclusion, and as a consequence.
These concluding words provide a signpost for the reader. They say, “I’m done giving the evidence, and now I’m going to tell you the idea that I want you to believe.”
You may be able to make your main point without them. However, they are very effective for helping the reader identify what it is you want them to understand.

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May 22, 2014

Common knowledge does not need a reference.


Although we recommend providing references for new or controversial information, we do not recommend providing references for common or widely accepted knowledge. We also do not recommend providing a reference for commonly accepted definitions or descriptions.

For example, you do not need to provide a reference for this information: “Clouds are formed from water molecules.” This is common knowledge.

You also would not need a reference for this information: “Books are composed of bound papers, which often contain words or images.”

Basically, if your readers already know, understand, and believe the information, you will not need a reference.


 

This is the strategy for day 128 in 300 Days of Better Writing, available at Hostile Editing in PDF, Kindle, and paperback formats.

For a sample of 300 Days of Better Writing and other books by Precise Edit, download the free ebook.

October 8, 2013

Edit from your readers’ perspective.

Filed under: WritingExcellence — preciseedit @ 12:41 pm
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When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it.

(Philip Roth)

Roth addresses two important concepts here.

  1. Readers will evaluate and criticize what you write. They will judge the clarity, the style, the ideas you present, and the correctness of the spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word usage. Ask yourself, “How will readers judge this?”
  2. Readers will interpret what you write. They will take your words and make their own meanings. You want their meaning to be equal to the meaning you intend. Thus, when you write, ask yourself, “How might the reader interpret these words?”

After you have written the first draft, put the document away for some time. Generally, the more emotionally and cognitively you are involved with the content, the longer you should put it away. Then, when you do re-read it, try to criticize it from the readers’ perspective and ask yourself the two questions above.


This is the strategy for day 101 in 300 Days of Better Writing, available at Hostile Editing in PDF, Kindle, and paperback formats.

For a sample of 300 Days of Better Writing and other books by Precise Edit, download the free ebook.

September 17, 2013

Know your secondary audience.


The immediate recipient of your document is your primary audience. Your secondary audience receives the document from the primary audience. In many cases, the document is not transferred to the secondary audience—only the information is passed on.

For example, if you write a financial analysis of a new program, your primary audience may be your supervisor or contracting agent. If that person takes specific information from the report and uses it to create his or her own report, or if that person passes on the document to another person, then the document or information moves from the primary to the secondary audience.

For example, if you write a fiction book, the person who buys the book is the primary audience. However, if that person passes the book on to another person, or if the book is read with a child or another person, then the child or other person is the secondary audience.

Why is this important? Nearly every document or manuscript will have a secondary audience. The needs of that person may be different than the needs of the primary audience. To ensure the effectiveness of your writing (or the widest distribution of the content), identify the secondary audience and consider that person’s needs. You will want to address both the primary and secondary audiences’ needs.


This is the strategy for day 114 in 300 Days of Better Writing, available at Hostile Editing in PDF, Kindle, and paperback formats.

For a sample of 300 Days of Better Writing and other books by Precise Edit, download the free ebook.

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