Elements Of Good Writing


Precision. Use the right word. Say exactly what you mean. Be specific. Avoid sexism in your writing. Use generic terms: firefighters instead of firemen, letter carriers instead of mailmen.

Clarity. Use simple sentences. Noun, verb. Think clearly, then write. Watch grammar and punctuation.

Pacing. Movement of sentences create a tone, mood for the story. Long sentences convey relaxed, slow mood. Short declarative sentences convey action, tension, movement. Use variety of sentence lengths. Use shorter sentences when writing about the more active, tense part of the story.

Transitions. Progress logically from point to point. Put everything in order.

Sensory appeal. Appeal to one or more of our five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. What does it sound like? Was the room too hot? Could you smell the cooking outside on the walkway? Did the person speak slowly and carefully, or rapidly, with confidence?

Using analogies. Describe it as being “like” or “as” something that is familiar to readers.