The latest session of Roy Peter Clark’s “Writing Tools” online chat at the Poynter Institute focused on the subject of his forthcoming book How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times. Here are just a few of the highlights. Look for the book on August 27th. 

  • [S]hort poems at their best require three things: focus, wit, and polish. Focus means it’s about one thing. Wit means there is signs of a governing intelligence. Polish means that you’ve revised it — at least a bit. Same should apply to writing for social networks.
  • Twitter is just an empty vessel. How we use it depends upon our craft, purpose, and audience.
  • [I]n my study of short writing, I found that over the course of 3,000 years of written history, that we have always chose short writing to say the most important things.
  • It may be impossible not to sacrifice depth in short writing, but that doesn’t mean writers don’t shoot for depth.
  • I think the shorter the writing the MORE grammar matters. Loose grammar and punctuation can be less noticeable in the middle of a ton of text. But in a short work — bad stuff stands out.

Read the full conversation here

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