6 Ways To Improve Your Writing
Are your sentences overly long and confusing? In this post, I’m going to share 6 ways to improve your writing.
Long sentences can be dangerous. When our sentences are too long, we tend to lapse into the passive voice and we risk making tense and punctuation mistakes.
Run-on sentences also distract the writer and the reader. We tend to veer off course and forget the purpose of our communications. They also force the reader to work harder.
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6 Ways To Improve Your Writing
- Use readability statistics. Activate this on your computer and it’ll do the counting for you. Remember you want to work with an average number of words. It is also important to vary the length of your sentences. [Read: Why You Should Care About Readability Statistics]
- Count the commas. If you are not listing items, and your sentence has more than three commas, you should consider splitting the sentence.
- Cut unnecessary conjunctions. Conjunctions join sentences. Find them and decide if you can remove them and make two sentences instead of one.
- One thought per paragraph. I tend to read the first sentence in a paragraph and then scan the rest of the paragraph. If you introduce second and third points later in the same paragraph, your reader may miss them.
- Remove redundant words. We add words that don’t add value. If you can remove a word from the sentence and it doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence you don’t need the word. [Read 19 Examples of Redundancy] Another term to be aware of is Sticky Sentences. If you don’t know what they are check this post out. How To Avoid Sticky Sentences
- Reduce your word count. Challenge yourself to cut 1/4 of the words. This will force you to evaluate each word. Do not cut crucial information, though. Make sure you have answered the five Ws and one H.
If you use these six ways and shorten your sentences, you will improve your writing.
If you like what you read, if you have any questions or ideas, make sure you post your comments below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view, a question or an answer, please invite them or share this post with them.
8 thoughts on “6 Ways To Improve Your Writing”
Hi Douglas, Can I repost this on my blog. I’ve been re-editing and most of what you’ve said in this post is what I’m doing. It helps to be reminded of all the little things that polish you story or book. Thanks in advance, Jill Smith Aussie Author
Of course you can repost this! That’s why I share my advice, to make sure it can help some people. And if that’s okay just give me a little shoutout for it. Thank you for asking!
I gave you a big shout out and will share this post with the writing groups I belong to. Thanks, heaps Jill
Thank you so much! 😃
As an editor, I’m shouting “YES!” to all of these things! I can’t tell you how often I see great writers who muddle their stories by writing long, confusing sentences and/or use punctuation incorrectly. But then, as a writer, I often find myself writing sentences that are too lengthy! Thank you for this great post. Would you mind if I reblogged it for the fellow writers on my blog?
I do the exact same. When I’m writing, I write the longest sentences but as I go through my edit rounds I tend to tighten it up.
Yes of course I don’t mind. Share it around. Thank you!
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