The Beauty of Shutting Up

A couple of days ago, I was watching the Sound of Music for the fifty thousandth time. It’s one of my favorite movies, but by the time the Nazi’s start to pursue Captain Von Trapp, I’m usually about ready for the movie to be over.

Just like the seemingly never-ending saga of the Von Trapp Family Singers, I think some authors just don’t know when to stop writing. Whether the work in question is a novel, magazine article or text book, it often seems that pages are being used to say what could be stated in a paragraph.

This isn’t always a negative trait. For example, pages of beautiful language in poetry or a novel is more enjoyable to read than a dry, informative paragraph. But especially for journalists or magazine writers, brevity is much more conducive and attractive to the target audience. Personally, I am much more drawn to a short, clearly laid out article than to one that is three pages long and requires sorting through long, convoluted paragraphs.

Maybe I’m just lazy, but short, sweet articles are definitely much more likely to grab my attention. Although it certainly does not apply to all circumstances, I think brevity can be a great practice to work on.

One thought on “The Beauty of Shutting Up

  1. courtneycalderon April 23, 2015 / 3:10 pm

    Firstly, I love that you compared this to a musical. Spot on. But in all actuality, I feel the exact same way. There have been plenty of times where friends have recommended a book to me, and about halfway through, I lose interest. Why is the author still going on about this? Why is she giving all these unnecessary details? What was the point of having four pages about his thoughts?

    Granted, like you said, there is a time and a place for this. Sometimes, I love when authors use long paragraphs as a stylistic choice. It can convey emotions really well. Most of the time though, I think you’re right that we can all benefit from shutting up a little.


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