Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Be a Stickler for All Things Accurate and Precise

A lot of people might not care about accuracy and precision, especially when it comes to historical or scientific fact. That doesn't mean that you should jump on the bandwagon.

Precision: saying what you want to say; avoiding vague terms that turn your writing into a nebulous blob of "Huh?"

Accuracy: sticking to the facts as closely as you can. You can take some literary license now and then, but when you've taken one too many, you're just one lazy writer.

Be a stickler for precision. Start with grammar. Don't leave your work to an editor who might not catch the spirit of your writing, and who may simply blot out a few words and punctuation marks.

Be a stickler for accuracy. Start with research. Be as accurate as you possibly can, whether it's historical information or jargon, you need to tell a story. Tell it as accurately as possible. True, people will see the truth in different ways, but that shouldn't stop you from doing research! Hit the balance between good grammar and good storytelling; hit another balance between good grammar and good research; and hit the balance between good storytelling and good research. The latter may be the most difficult to do, but with practice (and prudent nitpicking) you can do it!

Last, stamp precision and accuracy on your mindset. When you start concentrating on being precise and accurate in your work, it may soon come naturally to you.

Be the best writer that you can be.

Good luck, and happy writing!

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