Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to improve writing (no. 57)

[Mark Trail, April 22, 2015, and revised.]

Abbey Powell’s April 20 polysyllabic spree (“Parasitoids are a biocontrol agent”) left Mark’s pal Wallace Wood bewildered and exasperated: “Abbey, can you explain it all to me in plain English, please?” What a know-nothing: no wonder his forest is falling to pieces. What (ahem) bugs me though is Mark’s prolixity in today’s strip. It’s not necessary to say that something would (or could ) potentially save the trees. And “before they get too damaged”? Thus these revisions: from sixteen words to thirteen, from twenty-three syllables to thirteen. Or, finally, to three words, five syllables.

Mark, you’re speaking in speech balloons. Save some helium.

Related reading
All OCA How to improve writing posts (Pinboard)
All OCA Mark Trail posts (Pinboard)

[More drastic: “Wiping out the eggs and larvae could save the trees!” But I wanted to keep the idea that the trees have already been damaged. This post is no. 57 in a series, “How to improve writing,” dedicated to improving stray bits of public prose.]

comments: 5

Fresca said...

Bugs bad. Trees good.

Michael Leddy said...

Wine good too. Fire good too.

The Crow said...

All good, dog!

Michael Leddy said...

Friend good.

Diane Schirf said...

Too many toos. Omit too many needless words too.