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Less is More; the Shortening of Word Count
April 4, 2017
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Years ago, authors were paid by the word.  So, more words more money.   People expected a few pounds of a novel and a few days or weeks of reading.   In those days, More was More.

Books of one thousand plus pages was not unusual.   People would immerse in the novel, reading for hours.  Reading the same work, for hours.

When the telegraph was invented, people had to get to the point immediately.  This wasn’t a letter where one goes on and on for ten pages.  This is a telegram where everything that can be left out is left out.

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Novels began to be a bit shorter, a bit more to the point.  Five hundred pages became a lot and 300 pages was more standard.

Over time, with the advent of Television and the ‘half hour’ show (which was twenty five minutes or less) the point had to be made quickly.   There was one idea and it was complete.

To understand, when you begin to ride a motorcycle, moving at twenty miles an hour your eyes need to adjust. Eventually you can see at thirty, then at forty.  The longer you ride the faster you can go and see clearly.  People who normally ride at about 80 can see where they are going.  They can read signs.  It takes time for you eyes to see so fast, but eventually, they do.

The same with reading and watching presentations.

One does not need to see someone at the sink washing two dishes, hearing the doorbell ring, finishing the dish, drying their hands, walking to the door and opening it.   Today, there are two seconds of the water and the dish, the door bell, two seconds of wiping hands, one second to opening the door.  What might have taken one minute of film time now takes five seconds.

Less has become more.

When it comes to writing, this new paradigm has taken hold.

Often people will write an article, start at the beginning, go through the middle, and come to the end and stop.  With word counts, often the item is too short.

So, the writer will go back and shove in verbs, adverbs, add sentences and other words to ‘stuff’ the item.   This doesn’t really improve the item, it might even cheapen it.

The proof of this change in writing is that those who began writing for sites which demanded over one thousand words, now, sometimes find, when writing a site that demands three hundred words their item is too short.

 





    1. One can write three hundred words but still it is concise. Short and sweet!

      • The interesting thing is that where a few years ago writing 1000 words was no problem, today, one becomes so concise that a topic is covered in 280 words, requiring one to go back and add.

      • Yes, one can write a 300 word article yet it already has taken all the important aspects.

        It is challenging to write more than 500 words. You must have the experience for your topic and very familiar with what you are writing for you to write that long.

        • In the old days people were in the verbose habit. They went around and around before making the point. Today it is very boring to read that kind of stuff.

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