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Chapter 23. Letter Perfect > Stamp of Approval - Pg. 264

Letter Perfect Ten Tips for Writing Great Personal Letters 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 264 7. 8. 9. 10. Never apologize for not having written or for running out of ideas. You're not on trial here. Reread any recent letters you received from the person to whom you are writing. This will help you answer the person's questions and include items of interest to the reader. To make your ideas come alive, use vivid sensory impressions, descriptions that appeal to sight, hearing, smell, and so on. Also include figures of speech, such as similes and metaphors . Dialogue makes your writing more specific and interesting, too. Never assume that your reader knows the complete cast of characters in your life, especially newcomers like your daughter's boyfriend (the one with the ring in his navel and hole in his head). Identify all unfamiliar people and places you mention. Check your grammar and usage carefully. Even though your letter is informal, you want to get it right and prevent misunderstandings. Reread for errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and logic. Make your letter easy to read by typing or writing clearly. Try to end your letter on a positive note. Avoid lame endings like, "Well, that's all I have to say" or "It's late so I'll end this letter." A strong ending leaves your readers thinking the good thoughts--and thinking well of you. Return to Sender, Address Unknown When you address the envelope, follow the style you used in the letter. Here are a few more guide- lines: