Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Truer Words Were Never Written

"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
--from The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White

This paragraph not only contains some of the most profound writing wisdom ever uttered, it is itself an example of exceptional writing. Note the parallelism in the second sentence, the varied sentence structure, and the total lack of extraneous words. Note how compelling and persuasive the argument sounds.

Go through your writing and omit needless words. It is the easiest and most efficient way to improve any written work. Watch how your writing becomes more crisp, your descriptions become more clear and your arguments become more powerful.

And then watch how your audience grows.