Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Omit Needless Words: How I Learned to Write with Brevity


Here’s the stunning conclusion of today’s re-blog:

“When you omit the needless, you choose the necessary—and sometimes, that is one perfect ray of sun falling on the back of your hand.”

Read on to find out how the author got there :-)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Ryder S. Ziebarth

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.

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr., edited by E. B. White.

In 1974, my Journalism 101 professor gave only two pieces of required reading: the local city newspaper, and The Elements of Style.

One book. One daily.

What could be easier?

Turned out, a lot of things. Concise writing takes diligence, skill, and patience. Three things I lacked as a college sophomore. But I pecked away on my typewriter, practicing every day, until I finally scored a coveted reporter’s job…

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