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Kick Ass Writing: Seven Steps (WORDSMITHING)

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Dr. Rob Williams’ Research And Writing Guidelines

SEVEN Steps For #KickAssWriting (with a nod to George Orwell)


1. FIRST! Ask a question, pose a problem, or select a topic of interest to YOU!

2. ACTION verbs: Over passive verbs.


Not “The World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists,” but “Terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.” See the difference? Sentence #2 is punchy, more powerful.


3. PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES: Collapse ‘em.


“Of, By, For, Over, Under, But” are all common prepositions. Avoid, and streamline sentences.


4. NO ADVERBS (“ly” words modifying verbs – avoid, unless exceptionally important.)


5. QUOTATIONS: Include and break up with the XYZ technique.


X = author; Y = author’s credentials; Z = name of source/document – like so:


“The origins of human intelligence are linked to the acquisition of meat, especially through the cognitive capacities necessary for the strategic sharing of meat with fellow group members - shared evolved traits with humans [that] point to the origins of human intelligence,” observes (X) Craig Stanford in his (Y) seminal book (Z) The Hunting Apes: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior. Stanford, a (Y) professor of biological sciences and anthropology at the University of Southern California and co-director of USC’s Jane Goodall Research Center, is one of many scholars currently exploring the deep evolutionary links between primates’ attraction to meat and our emergence as homo sapiens sapiens. “The intellect required to be a clever, strategic, and mindful sharer of meat is the essential recipe that led to the expansion of the human brain,” Stanford argues, noting that “the central importance of meat acquisition and meat sharing in modern and ancient human societies is simply undeniable.”


6. VARY transitions/sentence structure. Keep your reader surprised.


7. Embrace the whole PROCESS. Start early, research regularly, write/revise often!




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