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  • Writer's pictureLeah Geller

How is science writing different?

Updated: Jun 4

My niece, who teaches college-level English, recently asked me how science writing is different from other forms of the craft. I thought this was an excellent question, so I've summarized my thoughts below.

1. Writing clearly and concisely is absolutely essential.

Most scientific topics are complex, so the writer must use all the tools in their toolbox to help ensure clarity – what we in the biz call "plain language" techniques. These include using simple, familiar words whenever possible, creating structure using clear headings, and keeping sentences and paragraphs short.

2. You need to go straight to the source.

Science is always evolving, and most science stories relate to brand new discoveries or innovations. The best way to get the most up-to-date information is by speaking to the scientist or entrepreneur directly. This also helps you get a clear and accurate understanding of the subject matter.

3. It's especially important to make the topic relevant to the reader.

To engage the reader, you need to find a way to connect the dots between the science and your reader's experiences. Why does this matter to them? How will this change their life or the lives of those around them? How might it relate to something they've heard in the news or in popular culture?

How do you think science writing differs from other forms of the craft? Please let me know in the comments below.

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