In one of his chapters, Zinsser explains the difficulties the “travel writers” face in their works. Those writers haven’t learned control and how to filter their thoughts before expressing them on paper.
What they really lack is unity, which happens to be the anchor of good writing. Zinsser describes types of unity which serve to satisfy the readers’ need for order and keep them from struggling while reading a paper. The first of the unity types is a pronoun. Deciding whether you will write in the first person, the third person or even the second is important unless you’re trying your best to confuse your audience. The second type is the unity of tense. Zinsser demonstrates one example of a common mistake in a sentence: “I’m sitting in the dining car of the Yankee Limited and we’re pulling into Boston”. It is clear how the tenses have mixed up and although the reader still gets the idea of what is going on, he is not fully satisfied with the structure.
Most prefer to write mainly in the past tense, some do in the present. Making a choice tense you are principally going to address the reader with is crucial. And finally, the unity of mood. Talking to the reader in a casual voice or with a certain formality – that’s for you to decide. However, mixing two or three will bury your writing alive. To conclude, reading a writing that obviously lacks unity upsets the reader as it is certain that the writer has not decided how he wanted to approach his audience with the article.
His material is controlling him, and that could not be the case if he took time to establish certain utilities. Zinsser advises to ask yourself a couple of questions before expressing your thought on a paper: “In what capacity am I going to address the reader? What pronoun and tense am I going to use? What one point do I want to make?” Make a decision about time and place, individual characters. Remember that every successful piece of work should leave a reader with one provocative thought he didn’t have before. One – not three or five.