CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD WRITING
Positive Image Projection: Written communication
projects image about the writer. Written communication leaves a permanent record and therefore must be done well. Clear writing
reflects clear thinking.
Precise and brief writing: The aim of official writing is
to express and not impress. Writing must be brief, precise, direct, forceful, accurate, and result-oriented. Long convoluted
sentences should be abandoned; instead short powerful sentences should be used.
Simple language: Remember that some of your readers
may not be subject specialists like you therefore do not use too much technical jargon
Logic in writing: Logic whether inductive or deductive is
used in producing precise effective writing. Writing is helped by thinking logically of blocks of ideas and then translating
them into a document.
Believable: The following are characteristics of believable
written communication: the writer owns his positions ie expresses his opinions and stands clearly and does not hide behind
vague words and expressions, the writing must be emotionally honest, evidence-oriented, and directed at solving problems.
Purposive writing: Written communication must be purposive.
Avoid no-results writing. Write to inform but not to impress. Each letter must be written with a specific purpose in mind.
Letters are written for one of the following purposes: persuade, complain, reject, good will, ask for something, report, or
Review: There are two processes in writing: creating &
revising. Several revisions may be necessary before reaching a perfect result. All writing must be proof-read. Proofing involves
checking for: spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, and syntax errors in addition to cross-checking data.
Types of letters: letters
can serve any of the following purposes: persuasion, complaining, rejection of a request, expressing good will, application,
reporting, and making a proposal.
Organization & structure: The letter must be organized to show the date, name, address, and subject. The subject must be written upfront. A
personal or spiritual salutation is necessary. The body should contain the message being communicated. The letter should have
a polite and friendly conclusion. A letter should generally be no longer than 2 pages. Details can be attached as addenda
instead of being put in the body of the letter. A check-list or readability, correctness of language and format, appropriateness,
and thoughts should be used to check the letter before it is sent off. A letter must have a smooth flow of ideas. Reading
good model letters helps you develop your style.
Writing good memos requires answering the following questions.
Is the memo necessary? What are the communication needs of the recipient: approval
or information? What do I want to say? In writing a memo, be personal. Politely mention what actions & responses you expect
and when. Arrange ideas logically. Be consistent in organizing the memo. Keep the opening paragraph short. Vary lengths of
subsequent paragraphs. Do not communicate negative matters in writing. End with good will
TECHNICAL WRITING: PAPERS, REPORTS AND MANUALS:
papers: Quote or paraphrase source material if it is clearly not your thoughts and document carefully. Write a draft
first. Divide the paper into introduction, body, and conclusion.
Writing reports and manuals: Reports and manuals are more difficult to write than ordinary letters. Errors in them have worse consequences because
many people and operations depend on them. They require strict documentation: sources, lists, tables, figures, etc. Technical
reports should be reader-friendly and avoid jargon that non-specialist readers do not understand. Their format should be designed
with the end-user in mind. They must be organized in a logical order. They must have an executive summary with emphasis on
medical writing is a form of technical writing that follows the principles mentioned above. Its special features are: use
of medical jargon, use of abbreviations because doctors write under pressure of time, and making full and clear records in
the knowledge that medical records may be subpoenaed by courts of law.
PROBLEMS IN WRITING
page/writer’s block: This is caused by lack of motivation, lack of perseverance, fearing the reader, lack of
information, and fear of errors. Writer's block is common and should be dealt with forcefully. It is advisable to develop
formats and formulas for writing usually undertaken.
Writing to difficult persons: When writing to difficult persons or about difficult subjects, you must aim at conveying the message without making
the situation worse or creating new problems. Try to personalize the communication. Be positive. Avoid use of the first person
because it sounds dictatorial. Do not explain negative news because that could lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations;
just deliver the news and no more. Conclude with specific directions on what to do next.
Avoiding plagiarism: While making research for any piece of writing, ideas and information not from the writer
must be carefully and fully referenced. If an idea is recorded without the full citation of the source it is possible to forget
to attribute it properly to the source in the final document. Not every idea and every bit of information needs to be referenced.
Specialized guidelines should be consulted on this to avoid plagiarism.