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The Evolving Writer, Part II–Hallmarks of Good Writing


During that time and through all the ups and downs of my writing career, I’ve noticed seven recurring characteristics that editors seek in the writing they’re willing to publish. The more of these hallmarks that exist in a submission, the greater its chances of being accepted. Conversely, the more of them that are lacking, the greater its chances of being rejected.

  1. BREVITY

Write tight. Make every word count. When in doubt, cut it out. Get to your point quickly. I recognize this as one of my greatest problems. I tend to be too wordy, dragging things out and going into more detail than necessary.

2. CLARITY

Don’t repeat unnecessarily; avoid vagueness.

3. PRECISION

Use the best word to say exactly what you mean.


Pay attention to how your writing sounds. Read it aloud. (This will also help you identify typos, grammatical errors, and other problems in your writing.)

5. HUMANITY

Don’t merely write about things, ideas, or concepts; write about them in the context of people.

6. HONESTY

Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else in style or vocabulary.

7. POETRY

Strive to write beautifully, not by forcing it but by permeating your writing with the other six hallmarks of good writing.

Compare your most recent writing efforts against these seven hallmarks. How many of them characterize your work? Strive to ensure that you incorporate as many of them as you can into your writing. You’ll not only see your writing improve but also find that more of your submissions get accepted for publication.

Copyright (c) 2018, Dennis L. Peterson

#writing #writers #books #publishing #editing #Lessonslearned

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©2020 by Dennis L. Peterson