During 2013, dozens of talented writers are joining me to cheer you on in your storytelling. These guest-writers will share a few helpful words with you right here every Tuesday night, to encourage you as you #TellHisStory. (Come back after midnight to link up your God Story by clicking here. You are free to share ANY story that God lays on your heart.)
And now, I’m delighted to introduce you to a great writer and thinker, Lore Ferguson.
“Omit needless words.” I read it first in Strunk & White’s classic writing manual Elements of Style. Who among us wants to eschew style? And who among us couldn’t use a little more? I put those three words to task and refused to look back. Whenever anyone asks me for writing advice, it’s the first three words I offer. Most times the only three words.
Strunk & White referred to those snagging words, the ones we trip on when we read our pieces aloud, the unnecessary articles and intrusive adverbs. Omit them and your work will be stronger, more powerful, and memorable. But there’s a deeper truth there, too, if we’ll have it.
A writer’s best gift is her gift of self-editing. In a world of over-sharing, punctuated by personal information of all kinds, a writers who can step back and observe will last. He collects words like the treasures they are and fits them together into masterpieces instead of diaries. She omits needless words: coarse, superfluous, and unkind words. He thinks before he writes: is it kind? is it just? is it reflective of truth? Does the writer disappear and the words point to something more?
Write what is needed; omit what will not be missed.
Lore Ferguson is a writer whose deepest desire is to adorn the gospel in everything she says and does. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and works in the creative department of an international ministry. Lore writes regularly at Sayable.net, and you can follow her on Twitter @loreferguson.