Short is good

Much has been said about avoiding flowery, purple prose when writing. While those of us who love words don’t mind multi-syllable words, many readers would rather get on with reading flow than stop and look a word up.

Thus, consider using short words in your writing. In our politically correct society, we tend to diffuse meaning.  We say someone was sexually assaulted rather than raped. Yet, the shorter word creates a more powerful reader reaction.

Another way we try to impress our readers is by using phrases when one word would do. For example, we might write “the report is due once a year.” However, we get the same result saying the annual report or the yearly report.

Sometimes we opt for words that show our research capabilities better than our capability to connect with our reader. For example, we might use the word coccyx even though our reader would recognize the word tailbone more readily.

We publish business, self-help, and inspiration books at Expert Publishing, and we often see jargon in the manuscripts submitted to us. We challenge the author to write clearly for the reader. Sometimes we need to add a glossary to the book, but most of the time, with a little thoughtful rewriting, the author can make the writing reader-friendly.

As you work on your manuscript, allow yourself to write more clearly by using shorter, more easily understood words. You’ll impress your readers a lot more if you do.

Happy writing!


2 Responses to “Short is good”

  1. 1 Gaye Lindfors January 27, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Sharron – I appreciate this article! (And please note, I used only one exclamation point, and got stratight to the point!) Working with you was a gift, and your postings provide the opportunity to keep learning from you. Thank you for sharing your expertise.
    — Gaye Lindfors

    • 2 expertbookpublishing January 28, 2010 at 11:12 am

      Gaye, you are too fun! (Yes, I use exclamation points once in awhile too, but not so often as to delete their impact.)

      I’m pleased you find the blog helpful. You did survive my editing, and I know you offer good information for your readers. I’m just happy to be a part of your good work.

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