Non-Fiction Writing: The Sins You Cannot Commit

One of the first mistakes that you have to look out for is the organization of your entire material. What is important here is that you are taking your readers on a trip through “the structure” – the beginning, middle and the end, if the reader cannot follow your reasoning and content, they will eventually give up. No one is going to have the patience to read something that doesn’t make a lot of sense or interest them. We can’t go on rambling now, can we?

To keep the attention of readers your use of the vocabulary is very important. A book is a two-dimensional medium, so it is up to the writer to deliver the words and to paint a picture that becomes three-dimensional in the reader’s mind; this is true even for a non-fictional book. Uninteresting words make you lose focus whilst reading the book, so your writing has to be cohesive and structured. The two most important better writing skills are the ability to begin your writing well, and to conclude it even better – lucidity of thought and expression is also very important.

Poor sentence structure and grammar, misspellings, incorrect abbreviations and capitalization all need to be reviewed, and if you make mistakes here, the reader may assume that your idea has errors too. The best way of making your writing an interesting read is by editing them over and over again until you are entirely satisfied with your work. Spending as much time as possible revising your work is a good idea. Once the first draft is complete, you’ll come to the most dreaded part many writers dislike in their writing, proofreading and revising your work.

With the advent of word processors, proofreading and editing your manuscript has become an important matter. Using cut and paste techniques, you can fine tune your writing in little time. It also pays to brush up your written language when you are writing, as what may sound right might not mean the same when written.

As a writer you cannot become over emotional with your own work, though you should allow readers to become emotional and attached. The more emotional the reader gets, the more effective the story will be in making your point. What is very important is that you cannot tell the reader how to feel about the events they are reading; rather, tell them how you feel.

One thing that has to be kept in mind is in the overuse of words and punctuation, in trying to communicate to the reader and tell them what you feel. If a chapter has more than two exclamation points then I think you are trying to over emphasise something that you feel. Another amateurish mistake is using capitals for all your written words, as this is the written equivalent of shouting. It is much more effective to talk softly.

The most important thing about writing a book is to understand it needs to be modular and unfolded over time. It is surprising how quickly you can create a book if you spend an hour each day working on it. At the end of the day, if your structure is basically sound, then you are left with simply writing one good sentence at a time, one good paragraph at a time, one good section at a time, until you are complete.