Specific, Definite, and Concrete

While brainstorming what to write about on grammar, I decided to dedicate a post about concise, specific writing. (Since NanoWriMo is around the corner.) Concise writing doesn’t specifically concern itself with grammar, it does concern itself with writers and how ideas are expressed to audiences. Writers have all heard the “show, don’t tell” rule while struggling to understand the basic principle. Anton Chekhov had the perfect definition:

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

When writing, be specific when expressing ideas. To quote the Elements of Style book:

Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract.

Many novice writers believe writing wordy prose attracts readers. It doesn’t. It makes readers run the other way. This goes along with hard words that need defining in every other sentence (Oryx & Crake comes to mind). The key to writing, especially for beginner writers, is to write in your natural voice. Like the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Writing Tip: be specific, definite, and concrete. Plus, use words in your vocabulary.

Advertisements