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Author's Note

Thank you for buying or borrowing Seven Cs: The Elements of Effective Writing. A few notes before you begin:


Most of my experience has been in nonfiction, including editing dozens of magazines—all of which you’ve probably never heard of because most were single-sponsor publications for middle school, high school, or college students; travelers; sports fans; medical professionals and their patients; and other consumers. That’s why this book is primarily about nonfiction writing, which is based in the real world, as opposed to fiction, which is about made-up worlds. Some of the Seven Cs can be applied to both, but nonfiction is where my expertise lies. Also, Seven Cs assumes you write in U.S. American English. I don’t presume to advise those who write in other languages.


Seven C's is a work of reporting and commentary. I’ve researched and gathered information from experts I admire plus added insight from my personal experience. Their direct quotes are indicated by either quotation marks or indentation and italics throughout the book. (For more information, see Sources, at the end of the book.) In some cases, quotes do not follow the Seven Cs’ style guide and may include small grammar, punctuation, consistency, or spelling errors. I have generally left those as they originally appeared and included the term [sic] to indicate places where the copy has not been corrected. I hope you read these authors’ websites, books, and other works for more wisdom about writing.


Thank you to all whose words I’ve included.


I’ve tried to obey my own Pro Tips when writing Seven Cs, but I am sure you will spot inconsistencies. The lesson: Do your best to be an effective writer, then live with the results. Once a piece is released into the wilds of the world, you can’t control how people interpret it.


I hope you find Seven Cs valuable; if so, please leave a 5-star review on Amazon and tell your family and friends. Also, please visit to ask questions or leave comments. You can also follow my tweets on writing and other topics at @rhduckett.

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