3 keys to successful writing: MAP • Maintain focus and flow • Craft topic sentences • Use transitions • Provide trail markers • Maintain parallelism • Avoid abstraction • No empty pronouns! • Use passive voice with caution • Prune your sentences!
MAP:Prune for Precision Walt Walton, Home and Garden 2002
Try to write similarly to the way you speak. • Blackout order of 1942 Such preparations shall be made as will completely obscure all Federal buildings and non-federal buildings occupied by the federal government during an air raid for any period of time from visibility by reason of internal or external illumination. • President Roosevelt said: “Tell them that in buildings where they have to keep the work going to put something across the windows.” William Zinsser, On Writing Well
Instead of these: utilize deem during the course of with respect to make use of despite the fact that give consideration to Use these: use think during about use although consider Word choice: Don’t be pompous.
When you prune, you remove the dead wood. The following report outlines the different aspects relating to the current feasibility of constructing a magnetically levitated bullet train in Central Texas. What words could be cut out of this sentence?
Can you prune these sentences? The population explosion in and around the Austin area has proved to be problematic regarding water-drainage structures. It has particularly affected the Brushy Creek area in southern Williamson County.
Sometimes, combining sentences makes a shorter passage. The population explosion in the Austin area has proved to be problematic for water-drainage structures, particularly in the Brushy Creek area of southern Williamson County. Combining sentences produces longer sentences, but longer sentences may reduce overall number of words! The old second sentence is now a dependent or subordinate clause.