Orwell from 1946 is a verbose article which argues for brevity. It also errs, IMHO.
Most people accept his rules of writing:
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
And he will probably ask himself two more:
1. Could I put it more shortly?
2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
IMHO, It really depends on a few things:
1. What is the purpose of the writing – report, argument, to convey a mood?
2. Sometimes it’s necessary to go on at length to cover all points.
3. Not all writing is a blogpost for people with attention span deficit.
He’s certainly right on a few counts:
1. Weasel words and buzzwords are political.
2. Beware the dreaded adjective or superlative.
And here are a couple of mine for good measure:
1. Beware the use of capitalization to make a point.
2. Not everything has to be written in point form – it’s ugly.
Can you imagine a love affair conducted in bullet checklist form?
1. Hand over the flowers;
2. Wine and dine her;
3. Tadger in;
4. Roll off and go to sleep.
Words are powerful and in combination, often in counterpoint, using techniques such as repetition – repetition, I say – they carry the reader more in a flow of ideas. There’s a place for that which doesn’t descend into verbosity. Difficult but it can be done.
If I’m reading a novel, I prefer the elegant or exciting prose to the bullet form.
Filed under: Diversions