Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Guest Post: How To Write Non-Fiction by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton

Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton are the authors of the Football School series (as well as newspaper articles and several grown up books about maths, football, and... colouring in). Currently on book number three in the Football School series, Alex and Ben are experts at writing about facts and information. Here they give some advice to teachers and children about how to write those tricky non-fiction pieces of writing.

1) Choose a subject that you are passionate about. If you love something, then this passion will come through in the text.

2) Read! Non-fiction is writing with facts in it. Before you start writing you need to find facts about the subject you are writing about. One way to do this is to read: you can read websites, magazine articles and books. Make notes on what you read.

3) Speak to people! Another way to get facts is to ask people questions. For example, just say you want to write about pizza. You might want to go to your local pizzaria and ask the pizza chef some questions. They will know a lot about pizzas! Write down what they say.

4) Plan! Once you have done your research, you should have a few pages of notes. Read the notes and work out roughly plan the text. If you have several facts, choose a sensible order for the facts.

5) Clarity! The best writing is clear writing. There are tricks to writing clearly. One is to write in short sentences. Another is always to use simple language. Even if the ideas are complicated, keep the language simple.
6) Repetition. Avoid repeating the same words again and again, since this will make your text boring to read.

7) Don’t make assumptions. In other words, don't assume that your readers will know as much as you. If you refer to something that happened in the past, be sure to explain exactly what did happen the past so the reader isn’t left confused.

8) Do not use technical terms that only a specialist will understand. Make sure that every word you use would be understandable to a classmate who doesn’t share the same interests as you.

9) Don’t use cliche. A cliche is a phrase that is over-used, like “cool as a cucumber”, or “110 per cent”. Cliches make the text feel predictable and boring.

10) Have a conclusion. It is always nice to end a piece of text with either a summary of what has come before, or a final thought.

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