Here are a few examples:
- He drank some coffee. We can nearly always cut some and make a good clear statement.
- She managed to leave the house: She left the house.
- Jess wasn’t hungry at all. Jeff wasn’t hungry.
I enjoy writing aphorisms. If that’s not a common word for you, think of adage, proverb, moral, or principle. They’re brief observations that contain a general truth. Their pithiness makes the text easily remembered and quotable.
- Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old age regret.—Benjamin Disraeli
- Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.—Benjamin Franklin
- Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.—Khalil Gibran
“Sure,” the person says. “I’m getting off at the third floor.”
That means you must sum up everything in a few sentences.
Although no publisher has ever asked, when I write a book proposal I insert my elevator pitch immediately following the title page. It’s my summary of the book—usually one brief paragraph. That brief statement saves editors time by helping them see whether it’s something they want to pursue or to delete it from their hard drive.
Try doing this with your articles, stories—anything you write. It also helps you focus on what’s important.
I’ve been doing them so long, most of the time they flow out of my writing.
Here’s an aphorism for what I’ve written above:
I write summary statements to clarify
and to keep my thoughts focused.