The following suggestions are just that -- recommendations about how to make your writing better through editing. Each individual has his or her own individual style, but these general ideas, whether for newspapers or magazines, will make your work better, more readable and more understandable.
1) Edit your lead to snatch the reader into the article.
2) Use the same tense, for instance, present or past or variations of either, throughout a paragraph whenever possible.
3) Don't use adverbs too much. Instead think of stronger, active verbs. An example Jackie gave us earlier has stuck with me when she suggested we use, "She slurped her soup," instead of, "she noisily ate her soup."
4) Mix up the types of sentences you use ...
The more simple, uncomplicated sentences you use, the lower the reading level of whatever you write. Remember, most newspapers write on a fifth-grade level. But a mixture of sentences makes your writing more interesting.
5) Reread your work several times to make sure it doesn't contain cliches; get rid of unnecessary or repetitious words or phrases. Polish your work.
6) Avoid these words in newspaper and magazine articles as much as possible:
7) Use a hyphen between an adverb modifying an adjective -- for example 8-pound bass. Pound is an adjective and 8(an adverb) tells how many pounds.
8) Write with active voice whenever possible, instead of using passive voice to have a more alive, interesting article.
9) Write out the numbers one through nine, and use numerical figures for the number 10 and above for magazines and newspapers. Rules for book writing are somewhat different.
10) Make sure the subject and the verb agree -- singular subject and singular verb. You may have to use your dictionary to decide what is singular version of some words.
11) Spell check every time you do a revision on your article. Spell check one more time before you actually print the article out for the final time.
12) Double check your facts (that's a part of careful editing).
13) Don't use the same words too often. Reread your article, and use a Thesaurus to find a word with the same meaning but different. For newspaper writing, only use the words, said and explained when you're quoting someone. But you can make your verbs as interesting as possible in a magazine article. You can let someone emphasize, advise, report, mention, comment, observe, etc.
14) Watch your punctuation. For most magazines and newspapers, you don't have to put a comma before the word and in a series. For example: John, Tom and Joe went to the store. The main purpose of punctuation is to make what you read clear.
15) Be sure each sentence is a sentence with a subject or understood subject (you) and a verb.
16) Read your article aloud to yourself or someone else to see if they can follow what you're saying in the article. Too, you'll often hear things when you read an article aloud that don't make sense.
17) Print the article out one more time after you do all these craft improvements, and read it carefully again to spot any problems.