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Logical Flow = A "Must-Have" in “Good-Enough” Writing

Updated: Jan 10

by Choo Kah Ying

I have a reputation as a “Distinction or A+ Copyeditor” among my clients doing graduate-level theses. It is a moniker that has both positive and negative connotations. While highly motivated and ambitious students expressly seek out my services for this reason, most others are scared away by it. Indeed, this label makes me sound like a demanding copy editor with overly exacting standards, when all most are looking for is “good enough”.

The irony is that I am striving, AT THE VERY MINIMUM, to help my clients to produce a “good-enough” piece of writing. But to me, a “good-enough” piece of writing has to have logical flow at the very minimum.

What is logical flow?

In a nutshell, logical flow equals the proper sequencing of a series of relevant main points backed up by corresponding elaborations and supporting evidence to address a topic:

[Main Point A + Elaboration A + Supporting Points A1, A2, A3+ Implication (relevance to the topic/transition to Main Point B)]

—> [Main Point B + Elaboration B + Supporting Points B1, B2, B3+ Implication (relevance to the topic/ transition to Main Point C)] —> etc.

Logical flow is what enables the reader to follow the writer's development of an argument or the train of thought. It is Essay Writing 101 — something that young teen students learn how to do at school.

Yet, when my adult clients, who are typically successful professionals in their fields, seek out my services, they are often petrified by their writing tasks, be it a speech, a proposal, an essay, a book, or a thesis. They seemed to have forgotten their academic essay writing training of bygone years. Stringing together sentences in a logical order to build up a coherent argument looms forbiddingly over them like mission impossible.

It is important to point out that the reality is far more nuanced than meets the eye:

  • It is not that these successful adult professionals are far poorer in thinking and writing than teen students or their young teenage selves.

  • Rather, the topics/writing tasks that they are now tackling as adults are infinitely more complex than what they had experienced at school. Essentially, the template of the logically flowing essay writing is far harder to implement to the high standards that they have come to expect of themselves than their student days.

  • The cognitive challenge and their unconscious emotional expectation of performing well (regardless of their claim that "good enough" is really enough) can often combine to magnify their sense of being intimidated by the writing task.

This is where I come in as a writing consultant and a copy editor. In my work, I serve as a discerning sounding board to help my clients in the following ways:

  1. Zero in on the essence of the “story” (message) that they wish to tell;

  2. Maintain the focus on identifying the main points and their corresponding supporting points in a systematic fashion;

  3. Sequence the points in (2) to produce the maximal effect with a "compelling message"; and then

  4. Polish the message to enable understanding and engagement.

At the end of the day, if we truly want our writing to be understood, logical flow is a must-have ingredient in any piece of “good-enough” writing.


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