An Essay About Good Writing
By Robin Zimmermann
I have, in the past, had a few conversations with my dad about writing. One
night, I spent half an hour thinking about what makes good writing, and
distilled the following guidelines.
May 17th, 1999
These suggestions can be helpful in making for interesting and informative
reading, and should be applied as often as possible.
- Firstly, one must be concise. Describing things in a roundabout manner can
be used for good humorous effect, but in serious writing it is not as
- Secondly, one should state things clearly and completely. Ambiguity is a
hinderance to the understanding of one's work.
- Also, one should provide a variety and novelty to one's writings, for
repitition is pointless and boring.
- Additionally, it would be prudent to use good language. People will not
value work rife with typographical errors, nor work with bad grammar. One can
also be better understood if one uses good words.
- Sometimes it is wise to provide some emotional content, because being
indifferent about things like slavery and drug abuse angers people.
- One should also make sure one has enough content. Nobody reads books they
neither learn from nor enjoy.
- However, one can err in the other direction. Too much superfluous detail
makes your work dull and uninteresting for the reader.
This report written by Robin Zimmermann on May 6th and May 17th, 1999,
and was converted into HTML on May 19th, 1999.