Checklist For Lively
Follow this checklist whenever you
want your writing to inform and entertain, the twin watchwords of good writing.
These are rules for newspaper-style feature writing, but they apply in all
sorts of writing, from committee reports to business letters:
- Test the lead. Does the first sentence capture interest? Does the
first paragraph set the stage?
- Test the slant. Do your point of view, approach, angle and attitude
- Topic sentences. Do you guide the reader into important details by
summing them up first?
- Quotes. Direct and indirect quotations add credibility,
because it's somebody else saying something, not just your opinion. Choose
quotes that express an idea better than you could write it yourself.
- Anecdotes. People love stories. You can illustrate points more
effectively by showing them through anecdotes, rather than telling them
with straight prose.
- Service value. Does your story serve the reader's need to be informed
- Conventions. Are your grammar, spelling, punctuation,
capitalization, sentence structure, word choices, and other "bricks" in
the "wall" of this story correct and well-chosen?
- Attractiveness. People today are so used to looking at a colorful,
fast-moving, relatively large screen on a TV or computer, rather than the flat,
unchanging page of a book. Many, if not most, people find it easier and
more fun to sit and stare passively at a screen, instead of engaging their
minds in the hard, active work of reading. That's why you have to pay
attention to the appearance of your writing, not just its content. Make
sure the type is large enough, the margins are narrow, the paragraphs are
pretty short, the paper is spotless, the pages are numbered, there are
illustrations if possible, and it all looks and feels organized and
professional. Like everything else in life, what's on the inside is what
really counts. But to get a foot in the door, you have to make a good
By Susan Darst Williams • www.GoBigEd.com • Grammar Granny
015 • © 2006