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Easy Reading Is Damn Hard Writing - "killing the bloat"

Easy Reading Is Damn Hard Writing - "killing the bloat"

my notes ( ? )

  • "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity" (S. Weil).
  • "Easy reading is damn hard writing" (N. Hawthorne, M. Angelou)
  • "Easy writing makes hard reading" (E. Hemingway).

Strip away the inessential

Richard Lanham’s Paramedic Method is helpful for finding and killing the bloat. First outlined in his book Revising Prose, it consists of six steps:

  1. Highlight the prepositions.
  2. Highlight the “is” verb forms.
  3. Find the action. (Who is kicking whom?)
  4. Change the action into a simple active verb.
  5. Start fast—no slow windups.
  6. Read the passage out loud with emphasis and feeling.

In every paragraph Lanham revises, wordiness sneaks in out of laziness, or because the author wanted to turn a plain statement into a pompous profundity.

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