4 Ways to Make Good Writing Great

It’s more, so much more, than simply a good messageImage by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels

As a part-time writer and full-time English teacher of over twenty years, I’ve written tons of articles on the art of writing. Though there are no magical ways to write something that will wow every reader, there are ways to assure that your writing is the best that it can be for any reader who may choose to wander upon your words. Here are some important strategies to give your writing rhythm, power, and more readership.

Sentence construction and variety

While a heartfelt motivational message from a writer inevitably touches the reader, a knowledge of how best to construct, organize, and utilize words to their maximum impact transforms a beautifully played solo into a symphony. There is a rhythm created when compelling ideas come alive through the selective placement of words and sentences in a piece of writing.

When sentences are constructed in an elementary manner, the writer presents himself as a person capable of only elementary thoughts. And please do not misunderstand me. Long winding sentences that could only be understood by Emerson and Thoreau are not the goal, but when a writer makes use of different ways to construct his or her thoughts through the interplay of both simple and complex sentence constructions, varied openings, shorter and longer lengths, the ideas he or she presents lure the reader in with the musical variations his language creates.

There are four sentence types: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex, and it would do the writer well to know these types in order to make his words dance off the page. And although there are academic terms for strategies that create this sentence variety, the knowledge of these terms is not as important as the utilization of these techniques when constructing sentences.

For example, fancy terms such as participial phrases, gerund phrases, and infinitive phrases are of minimal importance to the writer. What is much more important is the ability to study models of these sentences and use them as building blocks and avenues of experimentation for writers.

Poetic devices

Clarity is of utmost importance to a writer because when a reader doesn’t understand his or her overall take away, her or she is unable to see the value an article may offer. However, when writers add real-life comparisons to the points they are trying to convey through metaphor, simile, and other types of figurative language, the information connects to the reader’s background knowledge. This allows the message writers send to readers to be better understood. For example, think of the use of these techniques as taking photos for the audience. While a well organized and formatted article creates a clear picture for the reader, the use of figurative language sharpens the image.

Rhetoric and the art of persuasion

Though this writing strategy began centuries ago, it still remains extremely important to the modern writer. Though people such as the ancient Greeks and Romans originally used the technique of rhetoric for powerful speeches, these same writing strategies can be found in large quantities in the most powerful speakers and writers of our lifetime. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. composed some of the most powerful speeches and writings using strategies such the anaphora, epistrophe, and the rule of three.

Part of rhetoric also involves the art of persuasion. For example, the interplay of the writer’s use of credibility, logic, and emotion, known to academics as the rhetorical triangle or ethos, logos, and pathos, are the building blocks that make draw your readers and make them trust the information a writer is trying to transmit.

Formatting and organization

Today’s readers are impatient, scanning, or skimming more than actually starting at the beginning of an article and reading to the end. Writing, therefore, needs to be “easy on the eyes.” A compelling headline and simple formatting techniques and careful consideration of things such as the length of paragraphs and the selective breakdown of ideas into easily digested chunks help the writer to make the decision to keep their eyes moving from one section to the next. And this means more reading time and greater engagement.

The bottom line:

Good writing means more than just good ideas. It is an art that requires study and strategy. When writers make the decision to learn more about the use of language, organization, presentation, and design, they become more reflective about their practice. Eventually, they develop a sort of “muscle memory” involving their craft, and know exactly what techniques to use (or not use) in the creation of articles.

This moves writers closer to getting their writing to flow and their readers to follow. And skilled writers know these things are the ultimate aims of those seeking success in their field. That’s the main objective right? Success. So go out and grab it. I know you can.

If you enjoyed this reading, you may want to consider these:

The Five Types of Friends All Reading Audiences WantGrammar Rules From School You Should Start Breaking Immediately

4 Ways to Make Good Writing Great was originally published in The Writing Cooperative on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Read more: writingcooperative.com

  • September 29, 2020
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