Web Find: Top ten style checks for writers

I found this post on Medium by Patrick Dunleavy: “Top Ten Style Checks for PhDs or Creative Nonfiction Writers.” 

If you’re a writer in the trenches, many of his ten points might be familiar. Some I was aware of,  just not as he phrased it, like the “Link/Frame/Deliver” (#7).

But here’s the writing wonder Dunleavy hits on: another approach to “re-writing” (listen to Kate Walter’s interview to see what I mean)  your work.

He writes:

“10. Apply the BBC test. Does a paragraph or sentence

  • Build your argument, advance readers’ understanding, strike the right tone and reach the right level? — Keep this text intact
  • Blur your argument, perhaps repeating material, over-analysing already clear points, or waffling with no clear purpose? — Assess the usefulness of such text critically. Not all ‘blur’ materials or slack should be cut out if they help readers. But be skeptical.
  • Corrode the thesis, creating a liability by including material that is wrong, too crude, or is out of scope or irrelevant to the main argument at this point? — Always either cut out the text concerned; or radically upgrade it so that it is no longer corrosive.”

First, BBC is just such a great way to remember since it plays on the familiarity of the massive public service broadcaster, BBC. Second,  those three states – build, blur, corrode – accurately represent what any phrase, clause, or sentence might accomplish . . . or not.

Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, re-writing with Dunleavy’s BBC technique in mind will surely make you a sharper editor. Check out the rest of his post on Medium.