Good Writing is Economical

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Good Writing is Economical. Economical doesn’t necessarily mean sparse. It does mean eliminating words that don’t do anything – terms like really, sort of, in the case of, actually, and one might point out. Because good writers don’t want to waste their readers’ time, they try to cut such excess works from their writing. Their goal is to get rid of what William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, calls clutter. Noice that Zinsser enlivens his description of the inattentive reader with concrete details that show a familiar scene:

The reader is someone with an attention span of about 30 second a person assailed by other forces competing for attention. At one time these forces weren’t so numerous: newspapers, radio, spouse, home children. Today they include a “home entertainment center” (TV, VCR, tapes, CDs), pets, a fitness program, a yard and all the gadgets that have been bought to keep it spruce, and that most potent of all competitors, sleep. The person snoozing in a chair with a magazine or a book is a person who was being given too much unnecessary trouble by the writer.

You will read about unnecessary repetition and other kinds of cutter in Chapter 10 on editing.

Other Pages in this Section :

  • It says something of consequence.

  • It’s clear.

  • It’s organized.

  • It’s grammatically acceptable.

  • It has no spelling errors.

  • Successful Writing Index

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