Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, is hilarious. He is also wise. Yesterday on his blog he divulged 80% of the rules for good business writing. Here are his tips:
- The main technique is keeping things simple. Simple writing is persuasive. A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences. Don’t fight it.
- Simple means getting rid of extra words. Don’t write, “He was very happy” when you can write “He was happy.” You think the word “very” adds something. It doesn’t. Prune your sentences.
- Humor writing is a lot like business writing. It needs to be simple. The main difference is in the choice of words. For humor, don’t say “drink” when you can say “swill.”
- Write short sentences. Avoid putting multiple thoughts in one sentence. Readers aren’t as smart as you’d think.
Here are 50 more tips for good writing.
One thing I’m thinking more about is humor writing. It’s hard to write humorously about serious topics.