Concise writing involves focusing on one idea at a time and eliminating unnecessary words. Sometimes writing less is more.
Here is a little exercise in writing concise sentences.
Seventeenth century French mathematician, physicist, inventor and writer Blaise Pascal observed how difficult it is to be concise when he wrote: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”
Discuss the meaning of this quote.
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet a longwinded character named Polonius ironically noted that: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
What does this mean?
Samuel Menashe of Greenwich Village writes poems. Really short poems.
Selected quotes from the video:
“I think poems are too long. Even the poems which should be short could be shorter.”
“Every word has to count.”
Try it yourself:
- Write a 10 word poem about how you feel today.
- Rewrite these 20 sentences to make them more concise. Source: Armstrong Atlantic State University
- Here is a concise lesson on writing concisely. Source: OWL Purdue
- Write a story in 100 words or less.
William Strunk, Jr., professor of English at Cornell University and author of the The Elements of Style, wrote: “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.”
Writing concisely means eliminating the unnecessary parts.