The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional Part One

The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional

Comments by Fran Lewis

Author: Philip Yaffe

This book engaged my interest from the first page. Although it might not be a novel with characters, plot, scenes and dialogue it will help you learn how to create those scenes, write your news or magazine article and come straight to the point. Most important, it will teach you how to get readers and listeners when giving a speech to want to read or listen to what you have written or saying.

In Part one of the Book the Fundamentals of Writing the author defines both creative and expository writing. Creative writing entertains or amuses the reader. Expository writing instructs or informs. Both have their own mindsets, similarities and differences.

When you think about writing a short story or a novel, which are considered forms of creative writing you writing attitude is on that everyone will want to read what you are writing. The opposite is true in expository writing. The attitude is no one wants to read what I am writing. Your goal is to organize that information you are writing to generate the reader’s interest. How do you do this in both forms of writing? First, I learned that you text must have clarity. It has to be understood, simple and clear. Sounds easy but it takes skill, understanding and reading more of his amazing tips and techniques understand what this means.

How can a writer achieve clarity?

  1. Emphasize what is of key importance
  2. Deemphasize what is of secondary importance
  3. Eliminate what is of no importance.

This is one of the most difficult things I find when writing my reviews. I understand why I need be more concise and come straight to the point without any extraneous information to cloud the review and bore the reader. Make your piece as long a necessary and as short as possible. The point made is that everyone should be in there in the text that you want to have read. Conciseness means saying what needs to be said in the minimum number of words. I definitely agree with this statement and will try hard not to be too verbose in when making my comments.

One word that I have never heard used in writing is density. Density means presenting precise information and logically linking it so that what you are writing is organized for the reader to understand. Precise information allows you to direct the reader’s mind where you want it to go. You want the reader to understand what you think. Precise writing helps to ensure that the discussion will be about the information and conclusions that can be drawn.

Logical linking is something that I am just learning to do when writing my non-fiction books.  The data your article, book or story needs to be organized to create information for the reader to comprehend. The information has to have relevance, if it does not leave it out. It must avoid misconceptions and make sure that the logical link is clear.

The author explains how to build your text one sentence at a time. But, the most valuable tip that I learned was the inverted pyramid which I found quite helpful and caused me to go back and reread my second Alzheimer’s book to make sure that I followed the author’s tips for how to delineate the sections. Using this pyramid you start by creating your lead. Using the five W’s will help you to create your lead, your body and the information needed to construct the body of your work.

When you write your lead use the 5W’s as guideline and after writing your short lead answer all of the questions that are applicable. You are writing for people that might not have time to read an entire text. Make your message clear, sharp giving a vivid picture of what you are writing about.

Constructing the body: this is the hardest part I find when writing. You want to get the point across and using this pyramid you do that in descending order. The information after the lead becomes less and less important. Using the 5 W’s as a guide you can be more precise and clear. In other words the body of your work has detailed information in declining order of importance.

The fog factor, the sentence length and the tips on pages 61-72 helped me to reorganize what I had written. Learning the correct way to use bullet points and numbered lists and using the correct tense in my writing helped me to realize that I cannot write in every tense when creating my children’s or non-fiction books. The final part of Fundamentals in writing, which honed in on writing tips and techniques in English is really to all writers.


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