I don't want to keep backing something that has already been rejected, but I still am not sure that I properly communicated what I meant by 'as few words as possible.'
In order to keep your reader engaged, you cannot afford to needlessly add content where it is not needed. When you have something that you want to add a poetic description, then you do not detract from your writing; you enrich it. If you have double negatives, repetition, or a lack of vocabulary terms; you may force the reader to have to reread sentences that didn't make sense.
Example: "In all honesty, it's not an impossibility." vs. "It's possible."
Which is clearer to understand? This was unfair of me to use, but the first was meant to confuse the listener by adding more words than needed and throwing in more than one logical actuator. The second is straight forward, but has a different interpretation.
Example: "Shakespeare is the greatest writer in history. He's even better than Michael Criton."
You don't have to have 'He's even better than Michael Criton' because the first piece of the sentence already encompassed Criton. This is needless wording to achieve the same outcome.
Example: "Make sure to properly secure the solar filter to the telescope."
Example 2: "Looking at the sun through a telescope will burn your retinas. Make sure to properly secure the solar filter to the telescope."
Example two has more words for the same direction, but the additional words are to instill fear into the consequences of making a mistake. This is an example where you expand the idea or subject in order to enhance your message. The concern is not fitting the solar filter to a telescope... it's not damaging you eyes while looking at the sun.
I will go so far as to say that there are MANY situations where my advice can be challenged. It's meant to reduce the number of words you use in a language without changing the meaning of the subject you're trying to communicate. The same subject with a simpler sentence is usually the best because it is less likely to be misinterpreted.
Shakespeare often required me to go back and reread the same thing multiple times because I missed a logical operator (and, or, not) and it flipped the meaning completely. Wordy descriptions of a tree are not always great to have because we almost all know about what trees look like... a tropical tree might be different, though. The sample I saw actually was quite impressive, but it made a statement that made even a very simple thing very elaborate to think about.
Concise writing should be to essentially make your wording easy to understand... good vocabulary or technical terms are what writers often use to produce fewer, more concise terms than simple, lengthy descriptions... which are what I would expect from inexperienced writers.
One thing that I appreciate from very skilled writers is also the ability to essentially use a variety of words in context. Using the same grouping of words like 'he said' gets back to the repetition issue I've mentioned. I haven't read Shakespeare having this problem very much. I give him credit for that. A diverse vocabulary is essential to any kind of writer... occupational or artistic alike.
Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 04-07-2009 at 06:20 PM.