Friday, 14 June 2013
WRITING SKILLS: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL WRITING.
Writing is part of life. In our everyday endeavors we write be it by use of a computer or pen. People write letters, essays, research papers, speeches etc and this all calls for good writing skills in order to be effective.
Writing is not just putting words together; it is a skill that has to be nurtured through constant practice Remember we write to share an experience, express personal ideas and feelings, thoughts and observations. Therefore a good writer makes us sense what is happening.
This therefore means that writing is not just deciding what to write but how to write. Mastery of writing then in the key to successful dissemination of information.
KEY TO SUCCESSFUL WRITING.
In order to get your readers enjoy what you are writing about, you need to have a good foundation. The following keys will help make your story interesting.
Know your audience.
a. What is your audience?
b. How old are they.
c. What are their interests?
Key 2 :
Choosing a good topic.
Consider these three factors when choosing a topic.
a. Can you find some information on the topic?
b. Choose a topic of interest to you and to others.
c. Choose a topic that is limited enough so that you can cover it in an interesting way.
Organize your composition.
Readers enjoy reading a well organized composition that flows like music to the ears. A good composition contains three parts: the introduction, body and the conclusion. These parts are developed in form of paragraphs. Each part of your writing must be cohesive, coherent and interesting.
a. The introduction.
· Most important part of writing as it is the 'appetizer'.
· It aims at catching the reader’s interest.
· It therefore must be interesting and present the main point or argument.
· Can use a proverb, clever quotation, starting statistics, starting revelation, provocative questions, anecdote or striking contrast.
b. The body.
· It contains the substance of the writing.
· Aim at holding interest of the readers.
· Organization depends on the nature of the topic. e.g argumentative will take the emphatic order, narrative the chronological order, explanations the process order, and compositions on problems the problem – solution order.
· You may use 3 to 5 paragraphs.
c. The conclusion.
· This brings the writing to a close.
· Should be powerful, inspiring and memorable.
· It should restate what you have said referring to the theme.
· Conclusions end differently depending on the type of writing i.e. recommendation, prediction and quotation conclusion.
Develop a sense of what to or what not to include in your paragraph.
· To achieve coherence use the following:
Ø Transitional or linking words e.g and, also, in addition, further more, never the less, consequently, as a result, for instance, to sum up, indeed etc.
Ø Use synonyms i.e fire, blaze, inferno etc.
Ø Repetition i.e you always have written good poems and you will write now. All you have to do is to write the title first.
Ø Use pronouns reference.
· Building paragraphs is essential and how do you do this? Use the following;
Ø Facts and illustrations.
Ø Details especially for descriptions.
Ø Comparisons and contrasts.
Ø Reasons (why something happened).
Ø An anecdote (brief story).
Ø Rhetoric questions.
Ø Always remember that a good piece of writing is dependent on how well you have developed your paragraphs.
It was regarded as respectful behavior for girls to hide in rooms whenever doors were knocked by visitors and strangers. This prevented visitors from seeing the girls as they would easily think of sending marriage proposals, yet at that time, it was an affair purely left to parents and close adult relatives.
Discussions during marriage proposals were done by adults in the family, without both the girls and boys knowledge of who their future husbands would be. The boys parents would visit the girls parents home to propose. Weddings were arranged as soon as marriage proposals were accepted.
Halima observes any child’s character (mannerism) depend a lot on how their parents, especially mothers bring them up. On accepting marriage proposals, special female teachers experienced in sexuality were assigned the duty of teaching the girls how to live in marriage; particularly how to prepare themselves to have sex with their husbands.(Elimu Asilia)
The mechanics of writing.
For any project to succeed, the foundation must be good and strong. Therefore a writer needs to have some basics to make him/her have a convincing piece of writing.
The following tips are essential.
· Neat / legible handwriting.
· Correct spelling.
· Correct punctuation.
Punctuation is the use of certain marks to clarify meaning. Misuse of any of these marks may change meaning or fail to convey intended meaning.
Ø It is important to know the use of the punctuation marks one is using.
Ø Below is a list of punctuation marks commonly used:
1. Full stop (.) sentences end with full stop.
2. Comma (,) used to set off connectors, separate words.
3. The semi-colon (;) pause milder than full stop.
4. The colon (:) used in introductory statement.
5. The question mark (?) used to query.
6. The exclamation mark (!) use to express strong feelings.
7. The hyphen (-) join compound words, elements of digits.
8. The dash (---) stress materials that follow it.
9. Parenthesis (bracket) ( ) used interchangeably with dashes.
10. Quotation marks (“”) - enclose direct quotations, special words, titles etc.
11. Ellipsis (…..........) show omission, create suspense.
These punctuation marks are the building blocks that make your composition interesting.
Sentences are the grammatic vehicle we use to convey meaning. Writing coherent sentences is essential and a skill that is acquired through practice. Sentences are meant to convey meaning clearly and accurately. They are;
· They are supposed to be grammatically correct.
· Sentences should be complete.
· They should be clearly and logically connected.
· Spelling and proper use of punctuation marks cannot be underscored.
How do you attain well constructed sentences?
Evaluate your sentences by checking on;
1. Subject – verb agreement.
2. Agreement with collective nouns.
3. Correct use of articles, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs etc.
4. Correct use of words.
5. Correct spelling and punctuation.
· Sentence variety is key in holding the readers attention use both short and long reasonable sentences.
Choice of words.
This is a key component in developing your paragraphs and creating and interesting presentation.
· Precisely use the right word.
· Preferably use concrete rather that abstract in stories.
· Use figurative language. Avoid cliché’s.
Choice of style.
As a writer, one needs to use a style they are comfortable with. You can choose to communicate a message through:
· A poem.
· Drama / dialogue.
· Report, etc.
Whichever style you choose, remember your writing must be attractive and interesting to capture your reader’s attention.
Someone sang a simple song.
Music alone shall live,
Music alone shall live,
Music alone shall live,
NEVER TO DIE.
We write music to tell a story so keep writing!
LILIAN SAYO AGOLA
During the Elimu Asilia training workshop organized by Goethe-Institute and National Museums of Kenya on 20th -22 May, 2013 at Corat Africa Hotel, Karen.