Basic Writing Principles Across All Media

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Last week, I mentioned that I was prepping for a class on timeless writing principles for my students who are majoring in e-media. Today during class, I opened up the question to my knowledge network on Twitter, and received some excellent feedback.

[I've bolded the ones that I had in my actual presentation before opening the question up to Twitter!]

Always, always, always consider your audience.

Make sure the rhythm is right. Good writing grooves like good music :-)

Less is more, especially when it comes to modifiers. If you modify everything, then you modify nothing.

Yes--Study Marshall McLuhan. The medium is, indeed, the message.

Read your work out loud. Holds true for fiction, blogs, articles, everything. If it sounds wrong out loud, it needs editing.

Don't use the qualifier 'very.'

One that gives me the most trouble - Write now, rewrite later. Don't try to do both at the same time.

If an adjective or adverb adds no higher value to the sentence, get rid of it.

Less is best. Be concise.

My rule - know your audience.

Try second person in article or blog ledes.

"Be specific." Vague sentences don't work when you're limited by time. You can't be James Joyce on social media.

No secret - describe w/verbs. "He dashed out the door." Not "He ran quickly out the door."

My Fav !! Keep the sentences short

Tell the truth. Or go into advertising.

Give your characters depth; emotion, struggles, challenges, reasons, bring them to life. Quality before quantity.

Expect re-writes and edits, they're not a negative, they're an essential. Go back, make it better when ideas call

If you lack motivation; set yourself a minimum of say one quality page a day, it releases pressure, then expand.

The five paragraph essay. Never fails me.

Get who vs whom right, and don't confuse bring with take; then make each sentence so beautiful that I wish I had written it.

Plus, if it doesn't sound like something you would actually SAY, then it probably won't seem very authentic. Use your voice.

Keep cutting until you get message across with lowest possible word count. Simplicity is an art!