6 Traits of Excellent Writing

Name: __________________
Date: ___________________

6 Traits of Excellent Writing
"Write a second draft? But my first draft was already perfect - I just can't make it any better! I always write perfectly the first time." Does this sound like you? Well, here are six traits of excellent writing that can help good writers (you right now) become truly great writers (you in the future).

Trait #1: Good Ideas:
Your writing needs good ideas. Two things make ideas work well: clarity and detail. Presenting information clearly and completely in your writing will make it appealing and more understandable for your audience.

Trait #2: Strong Organization:
Strongly organized writing has all these essential elements: 1- an introduction designed to hook a reader and keep his or her attention, 2- sequencing in your writing that makes sense, 3- strong transitions that link sentences or ideas together, and 4- a solid conclusion that ties things together in the reader's mind, but often leaves the reader with something to think about.

Trait #3: Effective Voice:
Effective voice can be many things: confidence, enthusiasm, personality, individual expressiveness, and even a way of revealing a writer's feelings or attitudes toward a subject. Voice has been described as a "writer's fingerprints on a page." Sometimes voice is humorous, whimsical, serious, or reflective.

Trait #4: Word Choice:
Careful writers choose just the right word to make their meaning clear or to create a particular mood or feeling in their writing. Sometimes word choice is using simple language with striking clarity, or using unusual expressions or specialized language when necessary. Choose words for your writing that reach out and grab the reader.

Trait #5: Sentence Fluency:
Sentence fluency is much more than grammatical correctness. It is the rhythm and flow of carefully structured language that makes it both easy and pleasurable to read. Effective sentence fluency is often found in poetry, movie scripts, and other forms of writing that depend on the smooth flow of language.

Trait #6: Conventions and Creative Layout:
Conventions include spelling, punctuation, grammar and usage, paragraphing, and capitalization. Layout refers to such things as how text is presented on the page, whether for a business letter, poster, brochure, advertisement, etc.

Adapted from Vicki Spandel's Ideas for Teaching the Six Traits