Getting to the Meat: Concise Writing Tips

Trimming your sentences and including only the essential parts will help your content become more cohesive and readable. Unnecessary words clutter up a sentence and may distract your readers. Concise copywriting doesn’t only mean omitting all fluff, though. It also means getting the point across without resorting to a more wordy statement.

 

To understand concise writing better, there is a results-oriented writer and an image-oriented writer. The former easily writes a clear, concise, yet compelling copy, while the latter writes a copy that leans towards being more artistic and funny.

  • A results-oriented writer may try to solve the problem by demonstrating the product while solving the target customer’s problem.
  • An image-oriented writer may try to solve the problem by demonstrating their humor, craft, and wit through writing.

Here are a few tips, as well as things to look out for when editing your work.

 

Subject first

Starting sentences with the subject makes the sentence clearer, especially in writing concisely.

 

Example:

I beelined straight to the sweets aisle of the supermarket.

vs.

I went straight to the supermarket sweets aisle.

 

Use active verb

Active verbs help form powerful sentences that get straight to the point. Using passive voice isn’t wrong; just don’t let your passive sentences turn into misleading statements.

 

Example:

The spoiled food from inside the fridge was thrown out by me.

vs.

I threw out the spoiled food from the fridge.

 

Reduce adverbs and adjectives

Novelist and Nobel Prize in Literature winner V.S. Naipaul created a list of rules for beginning writers, which definitely also applies to the not so beginners and even experts. One of the rules says, “The beginner should avoid using adjectives, except those of color, size, and number. Use as few adverbs as possible.”

 

Example:

The gangly man exhaustedly walked down the dimly-lit alley to get to his house.

vs.

The man walked down the alley to get to his house.

 

Use the shortest form of the word and the sentence

When it comes to getting your point across, no need to be all lyrical and use all the long words you know. Use the shortest form of the word. Why use “conceptualization” when you can say “concept”? Keep your sentences concise with only 25 to 30 words, and your paragraphs between 250 to 300 words. A way to limit word count is turning your stock phrases like “on the other hand” to one word like “however” or “in the event of” to “if” to make the sentence shorter.

 

Example 1:

The extremely rambunctious boy is playing with his sister at home.

vs.

The energetic boy is playing with his sister at home.

 

Example 2:

The man wanted to buy a new car, on the other hand, he wanted to save money for a vacation.

 vs.

The man wanted a new car, however, he needs money for vacation.

 

Explain one idea at a time

Explain one idea at a time to keep things clear and concise. Avoid unrelated pointers and ideas in your sentences and paragraphs.

 

 

Contrary to popular belief, a writer’s skills and intelligence doesn’t shine more through the wordiness of work. Wordiness, or using more words than necessary to get a point across, makes the copy less effective. When you write concisely, your work is more focused, your reader follows your arguments easily, and there’s no worry about going past the word limit (if there is one). Clear, concise copy delivers a powerful message. Practice concise writing and convince your target with half the usual number of words it takes you. Deliberately restrict word count on your copy and convince your target market through straight-to-the-point, clear copy!