I have been reading about good writing for a while now, and today I came upon this book on business writing, written by an ex-Mckinsey consultant.
The principles outlined in the book seemed to apply not just to business writing, but to travel writing as well, and here are some of the tips I picked up.
Remember the goal – your readers may not agree with everything you say , they may end up hating you, but hey, at least they understand you!
Refrain from answering questions that you have not yet raised in the reader’s mind. And, logically, don’t ask a question and leave it at that without answering it somewhere in the document.
Its like telling a story – there’s a situation, a complication, and there is a conclusion.Ideally, the situation and the complication should be in the beginning, your introduction.
Each paragraph is a connected set of ideas – and the was to test if your sentences are connected is to look for a summary line for the paragraph. Can you come up with one, and if you can, do all the ideas in the paragraph tie in to that idea?
Overall, the document ( travel piece) is also trying to communicate a single idea – what is that idea? All the paragraphs in your story/piece need to tie into that.
Apparently, an average person can keep, with some difficulty 7 things in their short term memory at a time. So when you present too much info they end up categorising the information into groups that they can then remember. You need to help people by categorising the ideas well for them.
There’s lots more in the book, but these are the ones which I have retained ( are there seven of them 🙂 ?
If you are interested, you can check out the book, its called the Pyramid Principle.
What are others ( the slightly crazy ones) doing?
One a nice cool morning, they are up and about at 6 am, packing their cycles and helmets onto the back of a car, and taking off to some backroads.
Once there, they race for 2 kms.
Then they cycle for 20kms.
Then they race ( or, in some cases, walk) 5 kms again.
All for the fun of it 🙂
The above, for the benefit, of you-all, is what is called a Duathlon.
And why I am going and doing this I don’t know – but I was the only girl there, and damned I would be if I gave up, so I ignored my heart that was beating like some African drum-beat, and finished the gruelling practice Duathlon.
At the end of it, my reward – applause from the HBC gang, and a Bacardi Breezer!
< And then, this just came in on the email from the Little sister – something called the Badwater Marathon in Death Valley – 135 miles in 130 deg F heat. Nopes, this one I can never fathom doing.>
It’s easy when you have nice company too! Here’s the group from the Hyd Bicycling Club – a very enthusiastic group that meets at least twice a week, and often does rides of 100km or more in a day.
This was my first ride with the group, and thats me grinning a little foolishly on the extreme right of the photo. This photo is taken in the middle of a quarry, where the beautiful rocks have been blasted and carted away leaving large craters on the ground. We rode along the dirt trails used by the trucks – much rattling and bumping happenned. Once in a while we’d cross a large rock embedded on the ground, and would ride down it – some of us cautiously braking, while some sped down like it was actually something that could be enjoyed. Me ? After breaking my bones umpteen times ( the last one after a bike-fall), I’m more on the cautious side of things.