Tricks of the trade  

Do you tell your readers what to think?

Retired magazine editor Jack Limpert discusses another bad writing habit — sentences that do too much explaining: "I edited several writers who were savvy researchers-reporters and were good at explanatory pieces," Limpert writes. "Their problem was they couldn't resist scattering topic sentences throughout their stories. A high school or college English teacher had drummed into them the need for topic sentences to help the reader understand what he's reading."