Ten Helpful Style Points for Columnists
 Make your writing cleaner and sharper. Follow these ten journalistic style points, so your writing is attractive to readers.

1) Avoid long, contorted sentences. Your reader shouldn't have to read your sentence a second time.

2) Paragraphs should be short. Two or three sentences is fine.

3) Avoid saying "my point is." If you write clearly, it should be obvious what your point is. 

4) If you have a long list of points, consider using bullets.
 
Example:
Investors may consider:
• Mutual funds
• Stocks
• Bonds
• ETFs
• Limited Partnerships
• Annuities

5) Avoid complicated or pompous ways of stating your point. Don't place yourself above your reader and use technical jargon without an explanation.

6) Avoid bad taste, offensive terms or references. For example, a woman is not a girl.

7) Avoid using italics, capital letters, quotations marks, or exclamation points to emphasize certain words. Instead, use clear, forceful language. 

8) Avoid courtesy titles such as Ms., Mrs. or Mr.  And, on second reference just a last name is fine. 

Example:
Mary Smith is a photographer. Smith works seven days a week. 

9) In paraphrasing what someone said, don't begin your sentence with "According to . . ." State the fact first, and end the sentence with who said it.

Example:
There are ten unresolved problems, 
John Smith said. ("Said" is less wordy than "according to.")

10) If you begin a sentence with a number, spell it out.

Example: 
One hundred people attended the event.

  Being a good writer involves common sense. Always state things simply. For more help, check out my book, "You Can Be A Columnist," at the library.

Comments:
 
Elton4562   Elton4562 wrote
on 3/25/2011 5:00:24 PM
Hello, Thank you for the helpful guidance. I have a long-running weekly column in our local newspaper, but its circulation is mainly a single county here in North Alabama. I can attest to the wisdom of your suggestions. Thank you for sharing. Elton Camp

Charlotte_Digregorio
Journalism
Other
writing Charlotte_Digregorio
Learn to write for publication: articles, columns, books, poetry, promotional writing, and more.
Bookmark and Share

You must log in to rate.
Rating: 10.0/10

Synopsis
This article gives information about basic style points to observe when writing a column.
Published Date
8/2/2010 12:00:00 AM
Published In
On my blogs--blogspot and wordpress
© 2014 WritingRoom.com, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WRITING | POETRY WRITING | CREATIVE WRITING | WRITE A BOOK | WRITING CONTESTS | WRITING TIPS