Fifty Writing Tools: Quick List
by Roy Peter Clark
(The Poynter Institute)
I. Nuts and Bolts
1. Begin sentences with subjects and verbs. Make meaning early, then let weaker elements branch to the right.
2. Order words for emphasis. Place strong words at the beginning and at the end.
3. Activate your verbs. Strong verbs create action, save words, and reveal the players.
4. Be passive-aggressive. Use passive verbs to showcase the â€œvictimâ€ of action.
5. Watch those adverbs. Use them to change the meaning of the verb.
6. Take it easy on the -ings. Prefer the simple present or past.
7. Fear not the long sentence. Take the reader on a journey of language and meaning.
8. Establish a pattern, then give it a twist. Build parallel constructions, but cut across the grain.
9. Let punctuation control pace and space. Learn the rules, but realize you have more options than you think.
10. Cut big, then small. Prune the big limbs, then shake out the dead leaves. Click to continue