Dottie’s writing rules

Many business people, even marketing people, write poorly.  I have a few simple guidelines that will help.  I used to think I’d write a book on this subject, but the truth is that there’s not a book’s worth that needs to be said.  It boils down to just a few rules.  So I’ve decided to do a series of posts. 

Rule #1.  Make your most important point first.  In journalism, they call this the inverted pyramid.  The main point of your document/email/letter should be made in the first paragraph.  The main point of each paragraph should be made in the first sentence of that paragraph.  Too many writers make the mistake of building up to the main point which ends up buried in the next-to-last sentence of the next-to-last paragraph where no one will see it.  Readers, especially business readers, scan quickly to grasp the highlights and it’s much easier for them if the highlights can be gleaned easily.  Make your main point first, then make the supporting arguments afterwards.  Great writers know when to break this rule.  The rest of us should try to stick to it.  We’ll break it accidentally often enough.

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5 Responses to Dottie’s writing rules

  1. Paul Gross says:

    Dottie, I have to say that I read this title as “Dottie’s Writing RULES!” (I was thinking that “Flaunt It really really made sense!) And then after reading a bit, I realized it was “Dottie’s Rules of Writing.” So I think there needs to be a rule about headlines! 😉

    Paul
    One of your early subscribers!

  2. Dottie says:

    Paul, good point. I was trying to be concise and inadvertently changed the meaning. Never saw YOUR interpretation until you commented. 🙂

  3. […] posts on how normal business people can improve their business writing.  If you need to catch up, refer to my post on Rule #1:  Make your most important point first. Rule #2 is:  Write simple sentences.  You […]

  4. […] On the Dot readers know I am passionate about writing that gets to the point quickly. I am hereby appropriating the phrase “clearing your throat” to refer to writing that misses […]

  5. […] business people can improve their business writing.  If you need to catch up, refer to my posts on Rule #1: Make your most important point first and Rule #2: Write simple […]

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