Writing Tips – Style

There are so many books out there regarding writing styles. I suggest you read as many as you can – you don’t have to agree with everything they say. However, the best rules (or should I say guidelines, as there are always exceptions) for writing that I have ever come across were those suggested to Ernest Hemingway in 1917 when he started as a young reporter on the Kansas Daily Star:

  • Use short sentences
  • Use short first paragraphs
  • Use vigorous  English
  • Be positive not negative – What he meant by this is explained very well by Michael Fortin when he says:

By stating what something isn’t can be counterproductive since it is still directing the mind, albeit in the opposite way. If I told you that dental work is painless for example, you’ll still focus on the word “pain” in “painless.”

• Instead of saying “inexpensive,” say “economical,”
• Instead of saying “this procedure is painless,” say “there’s little discomfort” or “it’s relatively comfortable,”
• And instead of saying “this software is error-free” or “foolproof,” say “this software is consistent” or “stable.”

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