Focus Point - Better Writing

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. I recently came across a book that most people could find useful - especially one group.

It's called "Championship Writing," by a journalist and writing coach named Paula La Roque.

She gives tips on the best way to use analogies and on basic rules of grammar, but she's particularly good on giving writers ways to simplify and unclutter sentences, flesh out dull passages with lively words, use allusions and quotations, and avoid predictable and hackneyed language.

Most of the pieces were written for professional journalists, but I think it's politicians and bureaucrats who need this book most. Even when they aren't trying to obfuscate, their speeches and writing are often impenetrable - or lackluster at best. As La Roque says, governments excel at the use of euphemisms; thus a military disaster can become a "near triumph," and a prison's job isn't to punish wrongdoers, but to "create functioning social units."

"Championship Writing" ought to be in use from the court house to the white house.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.