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What writing tips have helped you?

Old 08-31-09, 03:06 AM
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What writing tips have helped you?

I'm trying to put together some tips for writers to encourage clean and simple prose. Have any Foosters found any tips, tricks or rules of thumb particularly useful? These could be grammatical tips, general rules of thumb (like avoiding the passive voice), tricks your grandparents taught you... anything!

A few I try to remember, in no particular order:
- Avoid the passive voice.
- If you're trying to decide between two words, the shorter one is usually better.
- Don't rely too much on adverbs or adjectives: Where possible, use powerful nouns and verbs instead.
- Say what you mean. Don't expect the reader to fill in the blanks.
- Avoid jargon.
- Some of the best writing is the least noticeable.

Any more?
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Old 08-31-09, 03:08 AM
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period goes at the end of the sentence.

This list has helped a lot.
https://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/blog...0fd3e00290602e

Last edited by c0urt; 08-31-09 at 04:13 AM.
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Old 08-31-09, 05:33 AM
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Print out what you've written, and read it aloud (or at least 'speak it' inside your head) - helps you catch mistakes or awkward bits that could be improved upon.
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.
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Old 08-31-09, 07:27 AM
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Use paragraphs.
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Old 08-31-09, 07:28 AM
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If you're going to plagiarize, at least make it believeable, and change words around.
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Old 08-31-09, 07:31 AM
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I strive endlessly, incessantly, and tirelessly to avoid the inclusion of superfluous verbiage in an utterly uselsess attempt to make me, the wordsmith, seem more intelligent than is actually verifiable.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 08-31-09, 07:36 AM
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You're asking this at BikeForums? Half the people here don't even use complete sentences.
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Old 08-31-09, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
I strive endlessly, incessantly, and tirelessly to avoid the inclusion of superfluous verbiage in an utterly uselsess attempt to make me, the wordsmith, seem more intelligent than is actually verifiable.
I are recommend not mixes plural and singular.
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Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
https://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm
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Old 08-31-09, 08:03 AM
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dnt use interwebspk.
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Old 08-31-09, 08:15 AM
  #10  
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no ur awwdeeance
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Old 08-31-09, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Skones MickLoud View Post
Change words around, and at least make it believable if you're going to plagiarize.
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.
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Old 08-31-09, 08:32 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Velo Vol View Post
You're asking this at BikeForums? Half the people here don't even use complete sentences.
I think he has a
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.
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Old 08-31-09, 08:42 AM
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(For fiction writing):

Don't tell them, show them.
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Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
- it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.
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Old 08-31-09, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
(For fiction writing):

Don't tell them, show them.
KT centerfold, do not want........
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 08-31-09, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Vol View Post
You're asking this at BikeForums? Half the people here don't even use complete sentences.
I am -- For Science!
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Old 08-31-09, 08:48 AM
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I had a teacher who wouldn't allow us to repeat the same word in a paragraph. This included simple words like "a" "the". It was a little extreme but it forced me to not be repetitive.
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Old 08-31-09, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
KT centerfold, do not want........
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Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
- it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.
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Old 08-31-09, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
(For fiction writing):

Don't tell them, show them.
Interesting. I think that works for more than just fiction.


Originally Posted by oakback View Post
What type of writing?
Journalistic, if I had to pick a type. But not journalese.


Thanks for the (serious and less serious) suggestions so far!
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Old 08-31-09, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gbcb View Post
Interesting. I think that works for more than just fiction.




Journalistic, if I had to pick a type. But not journalese.


Thanks for the (serious and less serious) suggestions so far!
That's why I specified fiction. I knew you wrote more journalistic type stuff and didn't think it applied there.
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Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
- it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.
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Old 08-31-09, 09:01 AM
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1. Know how to write short declarative sentences.

2. Write the way you talk, unless that violates rule # 1.
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Old 08-31-09, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
That's why I specified fiction. I knew you wrote more journalistic type stuff and didn't think it applied there.
I think it does. Journalism involves describing events, places and scenes, and can benefit a lot from "showing" instead of "telling." The important thing in journalism is to not take that to mean "verbose" -- or if you do, you'd better have a good reason.
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Old 08-31-09, 09:01 AM
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Orwell's rules:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
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Old 08-31-09, 09:14 AM
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I'll learn ya to write good
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Old 08-31-09, 10:33 AM
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If in doubt, look it up.
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Old 08-31-09, 10:57 AM
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avoid gerunds.


For technical publications, once you have the answers, first write the abstract. Then the methods and results (built around figures that should already have been generated).
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