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.