The Importance of Being Concise – Or A Writing Lesson from The Hobbit
By now you have all heard of the Apple Fanboys. If not, just Google it. Pretty funny…
Well, I don’t consider myself an Apple Fanboy, but I am most certainly a Tolkien Fanboy. Yes, I just made that up, and yes feel free to associate yourself with it if applicable…
Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and Tolkiens other works have been some of my favorites since I was a kid. I loved the adventure, the characters, the relentless triumph of good over evil, and the full immersion into the fantastical world of Middle Earth.
As you can imagine, I was more than excited when Peter Jackson announced that he was working on developing The Hobbit into a movie. With the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it was inevitable that The Hobbit would also eventually grace the silver screen.
Then I heard that Jackson had made the decision to split the book into two movies. I was a little taken aback, but I let it slide because of Jackson’s success with Lord of the Rings. But I was still skeptical, after all this is one single kid’s book right?
Then soon after that announcement, I was shocked to hear that The Hobbit would actually be broken into a trilogy. The Hobbit would now have the same amount of screen time as the 1000+ pages of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I heard dollar signs screaming in my ears. Can you say “money grabbing Hollywood bandwagon”? Then I went on to read that there are new characters, new plots, sub-plots not in the book, and WAY more details about the world of Middle Earth that are not in the original texts.
I could only shake my head in stunned silence.
I tell that story, just to say that there comes a point where it is critical to your success to be concise. Granted, The Hobbit has already pulled in $1 Billion, and I will pay go to see the next two movies in the theaters but the fact remains that the essence of the story was gutted, because Peter Jackson did not know how to be concise.
Don’t Say 5 Words When 2 Will Do
When I first began writing one of the most difficult things for me to do was be concise. I still struggle with it. Every English teacher I ever had scolded me for being too wordy.
When I was working on my Master’s degree, my program adhered to the APA style which emphasized brevity, and being concise. I dearly earned my stripes trying to perfect APA.
Through my struggles to be concise, I constantly had to remind myself that my words could be powerful, but they were not as awesome as I thought they were. I did not need to write needless phrases just to hear myself talk.
Why do you think Twitter is so popular? Because people can express themselves in 140 characters or less.
Twitter = Forced brevity
Being wordy, adding fluff, and rambling are the death blows to quality writing.
Just remember that people want you to get to the point as quickly as possible. Don’t ramble, don’t add extra words into sentence to make them appear cool, and don’t add fluff content to boost your word count.
Practice being concise and your readers will thank you.
553 words later, I am done…..