Always a teacher, I love to talk about God’s Word and also encourage writers. ENJOY!

The 10 Commandments of Great Writing

[Actually these are not written in stone like the original 10 Commandments. If they were, I would be like Moses and break at least a few of them. But being the wordsmith I am, the word suggestions in place of commandments seemed a bit weak.]

  1. Thou shalt use strong words! Make the nouns and verbs as specific as possible. Why walk when you’re strolling or racing?
  2. Thou shalt show, not tell! Describe what’s happening so the reader has to think and can visually “be there.” Paint the picture.
  3. Thou shalt know your reader! Who’s going to read what you’re writing? Answer that and then write accordingly.
  4. Thou shalt know your purpose! Do you want to entertain, inform, narrate, persuade, or explain? If you chose more than one, avoid confusion.
  5. Thou shalt write and rewrite! As Granny used to say, practice makes perfect. Great writing takes much thought and time.
  6. Thou shalt let others critique your work! Letting others read your rough drafts lets you know whether you’re succeeding or confusing.
  7. Thou shalt have a plan! A purpose and an outline help keep you from the dreaded rabbit trails.
  8. Thou shalt use dialogue and quotes! In fiction, give your characters a voice. In nonfiction, give your facts a face.
  9. Thou shalt vary your sentence length! Mix it up. The 30-word sentence can strain the brain. The 15-word sentence may become boring. The 5-word sentence wakes the reader up. Choose accordingly.
  10. Thou shalt never use “thou shalt!” Be culturally sensitive and choose your words with your audience in mind.

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