Title: How to Write Short
Author: Roy Peter Clark
Fun Fact: The term blurb comes from the fictitious character Miss Belinda Blurb whose over-the-top praise was used to sell books.
Review Summary: This guide included a ton of great techniques and ideas for practicing them. Definitely something I’d like to own as a reference.
“In How to Write Short, Roy Peter Clark turns his attention to the art of painting a thousand pictures with just a few words. Short forms of writing have always existed-from ship logs and telegrams to prayers and haikus. But in this ever-changing Internet age, short-form writing has become an essential skill. Clark covers how to write effective and powerful titles, headlines, essays, sales pitches, Tweets, letters, and even self-descriptions for online dating services. With examples from the long tradition of short-form writing in Western culture, How to Write Short guides writers to crafting brilliant prose, even in 140 characters.” (Source)
I think my best reviews are those from which I’ve removed all the excess words. For me, this typically means deleting the word “really” from nearly every sentence. More importantly, it means being more thoughtful about which words I keep. If I actively try to write short, I’m more likely to take the time to find the perfect word to express a particular sentiment. Having realized that, this guide about how to write short immediately intrigued me when I read a review by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. Obviously, there is still lots of room for me to improve, but I think reading this book has helped me be more thoughtful more often when writing my reviews.
As someone who loves fun facts and wants to write short, I liked that there was a history of writing short as well as instruction on how to write short yourself. That history, plus the author’s own obvious ability to write short and snappy prose, kept this book from becoming too much like a textbook. The advice in this book was very nicely organized. Each chapter addressed a particular technique. The examples of short writing that the author includes made for some great reading. I don’t often collect quotes from books I read, but the beautiful examples of writing in this book made me want to start collecting right away. My favorite part of this book were the practical suggestions for trying each technique. Given how much we write short, from reviews to tweets, I think this would make a fantastic reference book for any blogger.