Fundamental Principles 6: Repetition

This is post #7 of 7 in the series “Fundamental Principles” Repetition serves many purposes of emphasis, unity, clarity, coherence, and all-round effectiveness. The reason repetition is effective is that no reader is wide-awake, alert, and critical at every instant. For any of a number of reasons he may miss...

Fundamental Principles 5: Structure

This is post #6 of 7 in the series “Fundamental Principles” Important ideas should be expressed in important structures; unimportant ideas should be expressed in unimportant structures. Importance of structure is relative. A paragraph is more important than a sentence, a sentence than an independent clause, an independent clause than...

Fundamental Principles 4: Proportion

This is post #5 of 7 in the series “Fundamental Principles” Ideas should occupy space in direct proportion to their importance. The principle of proportion should be considered both as an injunction and as a command. Unimportant ideas must not be treated at length, and important ideas must be treated...

Fundamental Principles 3: Climax

This is post #4 of 7 in the series “Fundamental Principles” Details, examples, and ideas should be arranged in the order of climax. The order of climax is the order of steadily increasing importance. This principle applies to a series of related or roughly parallel items that are usually three...

Fundamental Principles 2: Suspense

This is post #3 of 7 in the series “Fundamental Principles” An important idea hinted at in the beginning but reserved for the end makes for suspense. Suspense in writing as in life is created by three things: a hint, a wait, and a fulfillment. The hint may be either...

Fundamental Principles 1: The End Position

This is post #2 of 7 in the series “Fundamental Principles” The most important word or idea in a sentence, a paragraph, or a whole composition should come at the end. Because readers are always more than usually alert when they know that a conclusion approaches a writer should use...

Fundamental Principles: Introduction

This is post #1 of 7 in the series “Fundamental Principles” First, a word of advice about the most fundamental principle of all. Students often enter writing courses with the illusion that they require nothing more than a driving urge and an undetermined amount of inspiration in order to create...