Monday, April 10, 2006

Is your writing -- or mine -- too long-winded?

There's nothing like a dense block of type larded with multisyllabic obscure words to discourage your reader.

I recently learned some guidelines that may help you streamline your writing.

To ensure reading comprehension, use no more than:
  • 42 words per paragraph
  • 14 words per sentence
  • 2 syllables per word
Obviously, you can break these guidelines sometimes as long as you keep your averages low. You stuck with me through my first sentence, even though it hit 17 words.

These guidelines were part of a very practical and energetic presentation by Ann Wylie. Ann spoke on "Writing That Sells" at the Yankee IABC Annual Conference last week.

I highly recommend Ann's free e-newsletter, "Revving Up Readership." It's one of the few newsletters I always read.



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