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Did I Remember? A Writer's Checklist

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Here are twelve questions to ask yourself and find appropriate answers or solutions to as you work your way through an assignment.

By Peter P. Jacobi

Have I:

--A clear sense of purpose as I dig into my story, a concept and a goal for my piece, a specific accomplishment that is meant to serve those I'm trying to reach.

--Just as clear a sense of direction for me to follow as I move along with a plan and its execution (do I know where I want to go and how, and will my reader be able to discern it?).

--Made as sure as possible that I am writing with sufficient and the best material, that the matter I have to work with is correct and will be convincing.

--Allowed my imagination to be released, so to make the most of my opportunity to entice the reader, and thereby make the reader's desire to accept what I write the equal of my desire to reach and satisfy that reader.

--Begun my story with what is most likely to encourage the reader to take the verbal journey I'm preparing, something that intrigues and also suits what is to follow.

--Built on the opening in substance, detail to detail, subtopic to subtopic, idea to idea, all into a logical structure with an architecture that's acceptable and attractive.

--Provided continuity, a sense of informational and environmental flow that makes for clarity and easy reading.

--Aimed for completeness, giving the reader a feel of such: that all his questions have been answered or that all her wants or needs have been taken care of.

--Used language in a provident versus prolix manner.

--Found the right words, those that say what I mean to say, that describe properly and excite sufficiently, that add a twist of lemon or a pinch of salt and pepper to my content.

--Edited my copy for accuracy, brevity, and clarity.

--Read my copy aloud and listened to it, this to make sure that everything on paper makes sense.

Know that by skipping any of the above, you should be prepared to accept failure.

Peter P. Jacobi is a Professor Emeritus at Indiana University. He is a writing and editing consultant for numerous associations and magazines, speech coach, and workshop leader for various institutions and corporations. He can be reached at 812-334-0063.

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