You would rarely become a thought leader in your area of interest or career unless you develop excellent writing skills.

You can do this well by mastering some important related writing principles which you can then use over and over again.

If you were like me that in your secondary school years, English teachers never paid adequate attention, as they ought to (bless English teachers!), in developing students’ writing skills to international standards as the best schools do, then you should develop that skill today.

I have followed, learned and still learning the art of writing from a few authors. Brandon Royal is one of those in a class of his own. I’ll like to review one of his books today that has helped me tremendously.

For example, I started writing on LinkedIn in early 2018 and have written 98 articles on graduate employability-related matters and nearly 100 posts this far. Not perfect. I’m still such an amateur.

However, this wouldn’t ever have happened if not the knowledge I gained from such books.

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Little Red Writing Book─20 Powerful Principles of Structure, Style & Readability enumerates the keys to effective writing.

The author categorised these essential related writing principles into four pillars ─STRUCTURE, STYLE, READABILITY, and GRAMMAR.

The structure is about the organisation and deciding in which order to present your ideas. Style describes how one writes, including how to use specific examples to support what is written.

Readability is about the presentation, or how to make a document visually pleasing and easy to read.

Grammar, including diction, is about expressing language in a correct and acceptable form.

Under ‘structure’, the author has taught me why I should

1. Write with A Top-Down Approach (Write Your Conclusion and Place It First)

2. Break Things Down (Break Your Subject into Two to Four Parts and Use A Lead Sentence)

3. Use Transition Words

4. Employ the Six Basic Writing Structures – Categorical, Evaluative, Chronological, Comparative, Sequential, and Causal.

5. Keep Like Things Together

Under ‘style’, he advises:

6. Support What You Say

7. Personalise Examples

8. Keep It Simple

9. Cut Down Long Sentences

10. Eliminate Needless Words

11. Gain Active Power (Favour Active Sentences, Not Passive Sentences)

12. Favour Verbs, Not Nouns

13. Always Use Parallels Forms

14. Capitalise on Sentence Variety

15. Choose an Appropriate Tone

To make my writing readable, he advises me to

16. Capitalise on Layout and Design

17. Employ Readability Tools

18. Consider Using Headlines

19. Keep Your Writing Gender Neutral

20. Go Back and Rework Your Writing

Under ‘Grammar’, he dealt with

30 Rules of Grammar

Using Correct Grammatical Idioms

A Few Highlights on Correct Punctuation

Let’s take one of Brandon’s principles of good writing. Principle Two─Break Down Things (Break Your Subject into Two to Four Parts and Use A Lead Sentence).

If you’ve known the subject of your writing, you should decide what basic building blocks will make up your work. You can break your subject into two to four major parts.

The introduction is one paragraph, the body is three paragraphs, and the conclusion is one paragraph. In the example below, all you must do is supply the colours!

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With the Little Red Writing Book, there wouldn’t be any more fears of the big, bad world of writing as a student or business professional. So, read it and begin your journey toward writing effectively.

More on writing tools.

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