How to Write Good

how to write good frank visco

Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, reports or essays, comments or blog posts, emails or tweets, these writing tips by Frank L. Visco, originally published in the June 1986 issue of Writers’ digest, can come in handy.

Which is your favorite? Do you agree with all of them?

28 thoughts on “How to Write Good

  1. My favorite is No. 1, avoid Alliteration. And I might add: Avoid Anaphora. Always. I think those rhetorical figures sound too easy, as if a student is trying to write a good essay.
    I just recently thought about it that writers in the Anglo-American hemisphere tend to use Anaphora frequently. My personal interpretation of this fact is that they all read Martin Luther King’s famous speech “I have a dream” in high school (which is an Anaphora-laden piece). King’s speech has had an enormous impact since then, but because his speech is so well-known, he made it impossible for anyone to use Anaphora ever again, especially in political articles. Each time when I come across those repetitions, it sounds like cheap plagiarism to me.

    1. Charles Dickens used Anaphora often. English sounds and flows better without repetitions, doesn’t it? That isn’t true for all languages, I would say.

  2. thank you for this…i do not agree with all of them…depends on what is one’s genre…however i agree with majority of it. Thanks again…great post.

    1. Neither do I. We have to remember, though, that these were written a few decades ago. Some may feel a little outdated, but the majority are still relevant today.

  3. I think that different individual writing styles might clash with some of the above rules; still these rules are quite useful and very interesting.

    1. No, I think he meant them. None? Really? Nina the literary rebel! I think some of these are useful for some types of writing, but not for all of course.

  4. Perhaps some of us missed the point. Reread for clarification and humor. I love this each time I encounter it. Thanks for sharing it here. 🙂

  5. i think its an awesome post though most of individual writing styles and genres tend to clash with that. Thank you though.

  6. When I work with students learning to write literary essays, I teach most of these “rules.” But when writing on my blog, I delight in breaking them. I love alliteration! Exaggeration is at the heart of humour. (And I couldn’t get by without parentheses).

    I think we need to learn how to use these rules, because they are critical to clear, concise communication. But as we gain confidence and range in our writing, particularly in the creative realm, we need to take risks.

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