Organized Writing

Research writing that I admire typically relates to the structure of the work. We discussed in class the use of semi-colons, punctuation, nominalizations (turning verbs into nouns), and negatives, to name a few. All of these writing components are extremely important, however, I find that it is the organization of a paper that is most compelling. If someone has their thoughts well organized, this is almost always displayed in their writing.

Ways to successfully organize a research paper (or any paper) include:

– brainstorming

– good thesis (or research question) that forms the basis of the paper

– subheadings

– short sentences

– precision (saying exactly what you want to say, not just a jumble of extras that are unnecessary)

Some of these basic organization tactics can be derived from George Orwell’s six rules for good writing. For example,

  1. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  2. Never use a long word when a short word can be used.

Therefore, organization is what makes work admirable to me. I don’t have an specific examples of this, but I know that I quite enjoy reading government publications such as briefing memos, because they’re outlined in such an organized manner. 

With regard to what kind of reading helps me (and the general public) write, I don’t really think I can choose anything in particular. I think it’s not WHAT you’re reading, I think it’s HOW MUCH you read, that really has an impact on your own writing. 

 Victoria Grant 

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