I thought I wrote concisely, but Zinsser is a master. Chapter 3 of “On Writing Well” is about trimming words that aren’t doing any work.

Zinsser says: “If you might add, add it. If it should be pointed out, point it out. If it is interesting to note, make it interesting…”

Words to live by, or at least write by. It’s harder than it sounds, though.

Can anyone trim this entry?


About szubryd

I come alive when I talk about science. Whether I'm asking about marine ecology or writing about endocrine-disrupting chemicals, I light up. I've found myself vehemently defending evolutionary theory from inside a bathroom stall, sitting at a bar holding the interest of self-proclaimed potheads with an explanation of endogenous cannabanoid receptors, and discussing the causes of eutrophication in streams on a second date (he was a keeper, by the way). It took an astute college mentor and the challenge of reporting about bisphenol A to point me toward science writing as a career. I had a hard time believing I could make a living doing something so interesting, so much more rewarding than listening to marketers pitch the environmental benefits of their latest drain cleaner—the one with "Toxic" on the label. What could be better?
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3 Responses to Concision

  1. janejaelee says:

    Here’s something interesting: your life told in six words. NPR wrote about SMITH magazine and how they solicited six word distillations of peoples’ lives.

  2. Keith R says:

    Be sure to check out my 1000+ word post that immediately follows.

    Concision is not, yet, my strong suit.

  3. nadiadrake says:

    clever. [ 😉 ]

    six-word autobios are fun and challenging.

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