The seven beacons of excellent writing

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The Writer’s Digest Guide to Good Writing provided me with another great article to discuss here. It’s entitled “The Seven Beacons of Good Writing” by Gary Provost. The beacons serve as foci for writers, and can be applied to any type of writing. They are basic concepts for improving your writing, but I find that the most basic concepts are often the best ones.

  1. Brevity: Keep your writing tight. Think about what you can leave out instead of what you have to put in. Make your words count. Focus on the main point of your writing, and avoid what is not important to that main point.
  2. Clarity: Make the meaning of your writing clear. Do not hide or obscure your main point. Be as direct as possible. State your objective and support it. Avoid overusing “it” when possible.
  3. Precision: Be as accurate as possible. Say exactly what you mean. Use words that are more precise (i.e., avoid generalizations).
  4. Harmony: Write sentences that flow into the next. Maintain consistency in mood, reading level, style, and punctuation. Read aloud what you wrote to make sure that it sounds harmonious.
  5. Humanity: Write about people, not just events or things. Include real-life anecdotes to demonstrate how issues affect people or what people did to succeed. Put yourself in your writing.
  6. Honesty: Write what you believe. State your opinions. Write your style. Be true to the spirit of the piece.
  7. Poetry: Choose words that add flavour and dimension to your writing. Your writing should maintain its functionality while being “beautiful” to read.

What beacons do you follow in your writing? Let me know, and perhaps we can add it to the list – contact @ davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

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