The Write Way

Get to the Point

Magnifying glassThe UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) released judging criteria for its 2011 Max Perutz Science Writing Award. Not surprisingly, the council’s members zeroed in on the importance of a singular focus.

“Decide in advance what is the one thing you’d most like readers to take away with them,” the MRC advises.Why does your research matter? Write it down as a single short sentence. Hone that sentence. Make sure you understand it and that it makes sense ... You really can only hope to say one thing, albeit with supporting points, information, and arguments. Choose that one thing well, and you will write a good article.”

Think like a skeptic
Finding the focus of any written piece, be it business communication or a statement of work, is one of the most important steps in the writing process. (For more information about this process, see “Part of the Plan” in this issue of The Write Way.) Several aspects are part of determining focus. Thinking a bit like a skeptic can help you hone in on your target:

Plan ahead
Unfortunately, losing focus can be much easier than finding it, especially in technical, business, or scientific writing in which facts, explanations, and details can quickly multiply. The best way to prevent this is to make sure that focus is clearly established before research or outlining begins.

Keeping the focus front and center during the idea-gathering and content-organization stages of the writing process can help you gather only the information that you need, thereby saving time during the research and writing stages and improving the quality of your writing.

Writing focused, purposeful content is a learned skill like any other. Practice it and watch your writing improve. Contact Hurley Write toll-free at 877-24-WRITE (877-249-7483) or by email for more information about our training courses.

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