Here's a basic checklist for the fundamentals of good writing. It's particularly useful for new or reluctant writers. (More experienced writers can check out this more robust set of tips.)
- A main idea that serves the purpose and is relevant to your audience.
- Evidence, explanations and examples that support ideas and address audience questions, concerns and objections.
- Descriptions that that show, not just tell.
- A clear and meaningful purpose and call to action.
Actionable Item: A strategy to help you develop your ideas and details.
- A beginning that entices the audience to read more.
- An ending that makes readers think, feel or do.
- Logical and easy-to-follow organization.
Actionable Item: Get help writing better beginnings and endings.
- A voice and resulting tone that is appropriate to the subject and resonates with your audience.
- A voice that sounds like a real person.
- Strong feelings and honest statements.
Actionable Item: Tips for developing and using voice effectively.
4. Word Choice
- Strong verbs that show how actions are performed.
- Words that make ideas more speciﬁc.
- Words that are meaningful and memorable.
- Jargon only when necessary and explained as needed.
- Appropriate language for purpose and audience.
Actionable Item: How to choose the best words for your content.
5. Sentence Fluency
- Start sentences in different ways.
- Use different lengths and structures.
- Structure sentences to make the meaning clear.
- Rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, and other “effects” used appropriately and effectively.
Actionable Item: Examples and strategies for using different sentence patterns.
- Correct spelling, including proper nouns.
- Punctuation that makes the writing easy to understand.
- Proper usage, particularly of technical terms.
- Grammar that makes the writing easier to understand (may not always follow rules).