How To Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times

Little, Brown. 2013. 272p. index. ISBN 9780316204354. $20; ebk. ISBN 9780316204347. COMM
Though the topic of this writing guide is inarguably relevant, author Clark (writing, Poynter Inst. for Media Studies; Writing Tools) has created a bit of a conundrum in his latest work. Discussing very short forms of writing in a full-length book may appeal to die-hard wordsmiths, but at least a portion of this title's intended audience are not likely to make contact owing to its traditional medium. The chapters, all 35 of them, are quite short, however, most of them spanning only a couple of pages and closing with tips and exercises ("Grace Notes"). The text touches on almost every form of microwriting imaginable, from tweets to tattoos, and offers advice for strengthening even the most succinct prose. Clark's instruction is solid and based on many years of experience in journalism and the wider writing world. The tone is appropriately light, and the plentiful examples are informative as well as entertaining. Most of the principles Clark espouses here could be both applied to writing of any length and extrapolated from any number of other general writing guides.
VERDICT The niche focus of this book will give it appeal to writing teachers and anyone interested in writing for the web and/or social media. [See Prepub Alert, 2/25/13.]
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