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Pack a Punch in Your (Short) Writing

posted February 11th 2015, 2:00 pm by Nicole Nelson

[caption id="attachment_1680" align="alignright" width="300"]Pack a Punch in Your (Short) Writing Photo Credit: the Italian voice via Compfight cc[/caption]

In this rapid, results-driven world in which we live, the days of rambling editorial are over. The tweet reigns supreme, making 140 characters an art form in its own right. The point is, get to the point. If you've learned how to pack a punch in your short writing, your writing should be short and sweet. Keeping your message brief means that more of your audience will take the time to pay attention. Here’s 4 hints to help your short words work for you.

Pack a Punch in Your (Short) Writing

1. Know your audience.

Whether you’re writing long or short, you have to know your audience. Tailor your message to them; otherwise, they simply won’t read it.

2. Proofread.

This tip is another that applies to all writing, too, but I argue that it’s even more important when you’re short writing. One typo glaringly stands out in a work of three sentences, but a reader may not even notice one typo in the middle of a 30+ page work. Regardless, you don’t produce shoddy craftsmanship, so don’t write like you do.

3. Word Ordering.

Pay attention to how your order your words—use them to pack a punch. Use your varying forms of punctuation—dash, hyphen, colon, semicolon, parentheses, etc.—to force the reader to slow down and pay attention to you. Fast Company uses Shakespeare as an example to prove the point: “The queen, my Lord, is dead.” The line, from Macbeth, emphasizes both important words of the sentence, “queen” and “dead,” and they’re kept separate by “my Lord.”

4. Juxtapose.

Pack a Punch in Your (Short) WritingOpposites do attract! Create interest in your writing by comparing two examples that seem to have no relationship. For example, “Sultry Winter.” Keep your audience paying attention through all 140 characters, and you’ll ensure your writing is not for naught.

Want to learn more on this subject? Check out How to Write Short. Roy Peter Clark dives into the art of writing short-form essays, headlines, tweets, sales pitches and more.


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