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Article Writing - My 7 Stage Plan For Excellence
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Whether you are a complete beginner, or have some experience in writing, there can be great value in having a set of guidelines to follow.
While we do not need to slavishly stick to rules or checklists, a good understanding of principles which work can really help develop confidence and expertise.
The first of the seven stages requires that you list the points you want to write about. Each of your bulleted points can be thought of as headings for the separate sections of your article.
You can then go through these sub-topic headings and confirm that they follow logically to tell your story. Are they in the sequence they should be or could you change the order for better emphasis?
In the third stage, work on each point separately to expand into sentences, with supporting facts and ideas. These should be very much 'to the point' and not introduce anything new to your story.
During stage four, you should read each sentence in isolation. Does it express exactly what you mean? Could it be misunderstood? This is when you can leave out anything which does not add value, if you feel you do not really need to say it.
If something is not strictly to the main point, could it be better elsewhere in the article?
Now it is time to read each section as a whole. This is so that you can be sure that your sentences flow together. You do not want your additional words to change or modify your main theme.
In stage six, you go through and edit with the proverbial 'fine-tooth comb'. Where you find repetition, select alternative words.
Can longer phrases be summarised using fewer words?
Make sure you are not using any unnecessary jargon or in-phrases. When you check for sentence length, it is good to keep them under twenty words. One way I find is to avoid the use of the word 'and' too many times.
I believe that the seventh stage should be completed after a break.
Returning after at least three or four hours works best for me. This is when you re-read and check for errors.
Some would recommend that you read the whole thing through at once, out loud. This can help to highlight any need for revision. Another tip is to read sections out of sequence, which can help you to spot spelling or grammar mistakes.
Following those seven steps should help you and your readers be happy with your writing efforts.
With writing as with any other craft, there is no substitute for good training and practice. It can be sensible to improve your skills with some quality coaching and guidance.
While very few of us are born writers, most, if not all of us, can become good enough to interest and entertain an appropriate audience of readers.
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