Sunday, July 15, 2007

Clear Conceptual Writing

Title: Clear Conceptual Writing
Type: Process
Status: final
Version: 2007-07-15
Gist: To explain how to amplify skills for writing information texts (not fiction or poetry). You can apply it to the introductory or explaining parts of requirements and design specifications.
Source: Michael Covington and my own experience.

S1: Planning: Decide what to write about. It's not important to have a very clear idea about the subject yet. It will evolve.
S2: Planning: Decide, for whom you are writing. if you don't know much about your audience, go and find out first.
Note: Writing is about transferring ideas. Although it can be used as a thinking tool for yourself (like this blog), it was invented to express ideas for others to read. Keep in mind that your writing tells something about you, whether you make it easy for you or easy for your audience.
S3: Planning: Every section has a purpose.
S4: Drafting: Write everything down. So you don't have to juggle with ideas in your head.
S5: Drafting: Concentrate on the what, not the how. It's okay if only you understand what's on the paper.
S6: Drafting: Get to the point. Say the main point of every paragraph in its first sentence, then provide the reasoning that leads to the main point in the following sentences.
Note: Mark Twain once said "Establish the facts first! You can mess them up afterwards."
S7: Revising: Make your text as easy to read as possible. Use someone who does not know about the topic to find out if it's understandable. Your kids or your gandparents should be able to understand what you say.
S8: Revising: Shorten your sentences. Then shorten them again.
S9: Revising: Think of ways how your sentence can be misunderstood, e. g. by reading it aloud several times and stressing different words in each pass.
S10: Editing: Fix the grammar, spelling an punctuation.
S11: Formatting: Keep it simple and standard, avoid meaningless variation.

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