“Eventually you get to Sentence Z.”

January 15, 2010

in Audience,History,Thinking,Words

William Zinsser:

The epidemic I’m most worried about isn’t swine flu. It’s the death of logical thinking. The cause, I assume, is that most people now get their information from random images on a screen—pop-ups, windows, and sidebars—or from scraps of talk on a digital phone. But writing is linear and sequential; Sentence B must follow Sentence A, and Sentence C must follow Sentence B, and eventually you get to Sentence Z. The hard part of writing isn’t the writing; it’s the thinking. You can solve most of your writing problems if you stop after every sentence and ask: What does the reader need to know next?”

Hmm, I guess I’ve got some thinking to do.

via @WaltPascoe and @zoewesthof

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