less is more…unless it’s more

I’m a fan of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style; it’s one of the few physical books I want nearby so I can leaf through it on demand. The demand, however, arises quite often in my writing.

Filler words are today’s culprit: just, really, actually, basically, exactly, now, only, and that, to list a few. They suck the life out of your writing. And yet, that’s how I write. I find that today’s corporate culture is the largest single driver of that impulse. (On a side note, I still haven’t forgiven corporate America for subverting and zombifying the word synergy. Such an elegant, beautiful concept, corrupted into a pretentious way of saying “do your job.” Damn corps– go on, keep leveraging your technologies and adding value for your customers, but stay the hell out of my language and arts.)

Anyway, keep a copy of Elements of Style handy, and keep the red ink flowing. The more you cut, the better your story will be. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway…so let’s keep going until it’s a perfect, blank page? Hah. And who says Zen is unattainable?


Name o' Penfold. Just Penfold. A full-time husband, dad, programmer, and nerd, trying to add "writer" to the list.

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