Greetings, writers! And friends! And kind people who listen to this podcast for no writing-related reason!
And now back to our regularly scheduled program. In this episode (ten! Double digits! What what!), we’re talking about what people (ahem, teachers and professors, also readers) expect in your writing but don’t always ask for. These are the two things I always taught in my classes at UNH and the two things that you can pretty much depend on being required of you whether you’re writing an email or a term paper or a novel. For serious!
They are clarity and concision.
Clarity means clearness. You want your writing to make sense to whoever’s reading it, and for that to happen, it has to be clear! Say what you mean to say, in other words.
Concision means shortness. In general, people want to read less, not more, if less is a possibility. This doesn’t *always* apply (see: this blog post introduction, the Internet, etc.), but it usually applies to paper-writing, essay-writing, story-writing, and novel-writing. It almost always applies at the sentence level. You would much rather read this sentence:
I walked the dog around the block.
Than this one:
I was able to take out my dog-friend, also known as a pet, on a series of steps, one in front of the other, around the vicinity of my home.
See? Writing has rules, and we follow them without thinking (sometimes).
Ok! Show notes!
- Here’s a link to my (Kindle e-book) guide on writing retreats, DIY Writing Retreat.
- Der Blokken Brewery is great.
- I finished 1/3 of my revision of my manuscript, Finding Lucy! Woohoo!
- The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
- Here is the article about tomb looting I read in National Geographic.
- The Grammar Girl on commas
- Longform is a great resource for essays
- Nathan Bransford‘s advice on query letters, pitches, and nonfiction book proposals is great.
What other writing “rules” are not spoken, but are expected to be followed? What genre do you write in–and does it have rules? Do you follow them, or not?