May 26, 2010

12 Tips to Writing Well

Time for lessons on writing well.

This week I downloaded more sample chapters from Amazon for Kindle:

The Book on Writing - The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well by Paula LaRocque. I've enjoyed reading the sample and I'll be buying this one. To give you an idea of what the book covers, each chapter heading could be a helpful hint in itself:

A Dozen Guidelines to Good Writing:
  1. Keep Sentences Short, and Keep to One Main Idea Per Sentence
  2. Avoid Pretensions, Gobbledygook, and Euphemisms
  3. Change Long and Difficult Words to Short and Simple Words
  4. Be Wary of Jargon, Fad and Cliche
  5. Use the Right Word
  6. Avoid Beginning With Long Dependent Phrases
  7. Prefer Active Verbs and the Active Voice
  8. Cut Wordiness
  9. Avoid Vague Qualifiers
  10. Prune Prepositions
  11. Limit Number and Symbol
  12. Get Right to the Point and Stay There.
That would be enough content to keep me interested, but on top of that LaRocque has chapters covering mastering metaphors, weaving backstory, archetypes as characters, writing quickly to edit later and, well, more.

LaRocque writes the way she suggests, her language is clear and instructive.

I've also been busy as a relief (substitute) teacher. I'd made the decision to substitute for a year so I can sample different classroom dynamics and various subjects before moving into the role of a high school English Teacher. So far, I've taught Art and History, and if any other substitute teachers know the secret to controlling an 8th grade class for last lesson of the day, feel free to set me straight. I might need a crankier teacher's-hat.


  1. Great guidelines! I don't have this book, but looks like it may be worth the buy.

    Good luck with the substitute teaching. I did it for a short while, and I was not very good at it! I'm sure my former students would agree with me :)

  2. Cool post! Love the pic at the top too :) How's life down under? Gee, I miss it ...

  3. Those guidelines make great advice. Sometimes I can get carried away with long thoughts that seem to never end. Then I realise I've made a gargantuan sentence. Thank goodness for editing!

  4. I really like that advice! I'm not a fan of overly flowerly language or description so it's right up my alley :)

  5. Great tips!

    Sorry, I'm no help on the teacher advice - I was probably one of those kids goofing off during last period ;)

  6. Thanks for posting the tips. I may have to purchase the book - it sounds like a winner. :-)

  7. I agree with everythign on the list, I may have to buy it!

  8. Did my last comment go through? I don't think it did. I missed the word verif. I like the badges. Great tips. I was a sub for a while when. At the end of the day, with 8th graders (ha!), you might need to read to them, make up a game, stand on your head, have them stand on their heads. It ain't easy!

  9. Thanks for all the great comments. The sub teaching is going well now, starting to get the upper hand on those unruly year8s :-)

    I'm not surprised to find many writers are also involved in teaching, I guess it just makes sense.

    The work has made finding time to blog hop a bit tricky, but it's Saturday in Oz, so I'm planning an afternoon of hot cuppas and friendly blogs :-)

  10. This looks great. I guess the advantage of kindle is you don't get charged hefty amounts of postage.