A matter of words

While learning about business writing, the idea of clarity is constantly reinforced. Strip sentences of all flourishes to clarify ideas and their meaning. I find that writing in this manner produces prose that ends up feeling sterile and uninteresting. While the ideas are certainly valuable and easy to understand, there is something missing when you read pieces written in this manner. Relying on ideas speaking for themselves is not always the best way to spread them. If your writing is not captivating, you won’t communicate anything, because people will stop reading.

How does one choose the right words for a sentence or piece they are writing? 

This is something I’ve been trying to improve. One of things I have learned from both Reading Like a Writer and How To Read a Book is to pay more attention to the words and phrases an author is using. There are times they use their own terminology for communications, and others their word choice transforms a boring sentence into beautiful prose.

When thinking about sentences that are noteworthy from any book or piece you read, they are rarely these sterile and stripped down sentences.

They have texture. 

They have feeling to them that makes them memorable.

This texture helps the ideas become more impactful.

Imagine an idea or sentence as a physical object. When pared down to its core essence, it can become too polished. There is nothing for your mind to grasp onto as it tries to understand and remember it. Adding interestingness to ideas gives them a certain “grippiness”, making them easier to grasp.

Choosing the right words to convey your ideas helps provide this texture. Syntactic sugar can add depth to your sentences, creating a more compelling phrase. Choose a vocabulary that amplifies your message, not obscures it.  Consider an idea that is not merely interesting, but engrossing. Or captivating. These adjectives have a certain quality to them, an added weight to the magnitude of interestingness. 

While I don’t have examples on hand right now, maybe I will revisit this piece in the future with some. Have you come across good examples of writing with texture? How are you working it into your own writing?

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