By My Web Writers
Fluff writing. You know, that technique you became great at during high school and college, when you were forced to write 700 words on a topic you didn’t understand to begin with? Back then, it may have been helpful to pad your writing with adjectives and redundancies, but not anymore. Particularly if you write for the web, readers have short attention spans and are looking for quality, not quantity. Banish the Fluff Writing Queen and promote the following habits of good writing:
- Kill the adjectives and adverbs. Unless you’re writing literary fiction, no one wants to read that you should do something slowly or carefully. Is your project special and important? Don’t write it: let your readers surmise these things from the writing itself, not your description.
- Remove unnecessary words. If you really work at it, you can try to remove words that you just don’t need very much. Okay, now read the previous sentence again, this time removing “really,” “at it,” “try to,” “just,” and “very much.” Did the meaning or flow suffer? No, it’s actually easier to read and to comprehend, now: If you work, you can remove words that you don’t need. Ahhhh!
- Take out the padding. Shoulder pads are out. So is the padding in writing! Once you’ve written a piece, look over it again. Remove unnecessary words and phrases, maybe even whole sentences. Readers don’t want to see the same thing more than once, or you risk them clicking away to another page.
- Banish clichés. When all is said and done, you should go the whole nine yards to before realizing that, when all is said and done, a posting should probably bite the dust. How many clichés did you spot in that last sentence? Try weeding out all the expressions/clichés/figures of speech in your articles, unless you’re using them for a specific reason or to contribute to an intentional “voice.”
- Be direct. Banish words and phrases like “perhaps,” “maybe,” and “it could be.” Write with authority and readers will take your postings more seriously.
- Use active voice. Writing in the passive voice makes your pieces more wordy and difficult to read and understand. So, instead of writing “The stick was fetched by the dog,” make it “The dog fetched the stick.”
- Keep focused. Resist the temptation to go off on tangents and related topics. Stick to the topic of your article, and, if necessary, write separate pieces about the topics they bring to mind. Readers prefer focused, clear pieces that answer their immediate questions simply.
- Get rid of complex sentences. You’re not trying to impress the English teacher anymore. Keep your sentences short and simple; if you have a long one, chop it into two. It will be easier to read.