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Writing composition

What makes a good writer even better?


There are many ways to approach writing (guided writing, talk for writing, co-created writing, scaffolded writing, tick-the-box-when-you’ve-thought-of-everything – like painting by numbers). Find one that works for you ... and write! Don’t look for the one right way!


Writing composition is the hardest to improve and takes a long time! Some people can write pages which end up barely worth the read. Other people’s handwriting looks beautiful but the words are poorly chosen and have no effect. What makes writing good? And when is writing great?


Before we answer this question, try not to think that writing is something to get over and done with. If you have the right tools to tackle writing, and with the help of a good teacher, writing can become something that you really enjoy as you begin to immerse yourself in the skills you need to improve. When you’re successful, writing can be immensely satisfying, rewarding and enjoyable. Writing is a skill which is honed and crafted. More than that, it is not a job to do but a way of thinking about yourself. You are a writer. You can become an author. 


While there is so much that comes together for a good piece of writing, it is impossible for any writing to be good unless it has accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. In addition, all writing has to have a plan and a purpose. The plan ensures that points and ideas are expressed in the right order, not repeated, and words are used economically. The purpose ensures that all writing does its job.


Did you know that writing has a job to do? The job of a letter is often not to entertain, and the job of a poem is not to inform or instruct. Different types of writing have different purposes. It’s important to know the types and what purposes they have for writing to be effective. By missing the purpose of writing, writing becomes pointless. But learning the purpose of writing is easy:


Type of writing

The job it has


To entertain

Play / film script / play script

To pretend to be someone else


To inform about a subject (non-chronological) or a process (chronological)


To present the facts


To tell readers what they need and what to do


To explain the way things are


To change people’s minds

Balancing opinions (argument)

To give two sides or present a case


To record a day in the life

Biography / autobiography

To remember the life of a person

Fiction, e.g., historic fiction / science fiction / fantasy

To take the reader to imaginary worlds


Learning the features (tense and writer’s perspective, for example) and style (formal or informal) can take longer, but the information is out there, and it makes sense, the more you pay attention to good writing.


So how do you become a better writer?

  • Plan what to write and when to write it
  • Be informed and have interesting content
  • Have a reason for writing, and don’t confuse the reasons for writing one sort of text with another
  • Talk to people who have thought through things and have ideas. Find out about people’s perspectives and why people have views and opinions (this applies only to certain types of writing)
  • Read a lot. Find out what makes people enjoy reading certain books - those are the authors whose ideas turn pages!
  • Remember that most adults do not ever need the skills for creative writing. Non-fiction writing is what most people will end up doing in their jobs – writing the content for a webpage, writing a report or advertisement


Even if you get everything else right, your writing can still come across and flat and boring! To make your writing stand apart from everyone else’s, you need to have flair. Flair is the chilli that gives your writing 'kick'; the fairy dust that changes a pumpkin into a coach. Flair is not easy to define because it is not just one thing, but it starts with having the right word choices (word power and adventurous vocabulary), having a turn of expression that is your own, using idioms or metaphors appropriately, using technical tricks which show mastery of language, and understanding punctuation and grammar. Inspiring? You bet. Well, just get writing…