The 5 C’s of Critical Writing

The answer is less a matter of word count, but making your words count. It’s what I call the 5 C’s of critical writing.  At the risk of turning away those readers who vote for brevity, here they are pared down to tweet-size.

1. Be Clear.  Use short, crisp sentences, as your building blocks.  Use active verbs and avoid adjective overkill, jargon, and acronyms.

2. Be Correct.  Make sure that quotes are accurate and attributed to the right speaker and use only reliable sources for background information.

3. Be Concise.  Put your writing on a Low-Fat Diet.  Be precise.  Avoid run-on sentences.  Guard against linguistic fat traps like of, due to the fact, the majority of, despite the fact, to be.

4. Be Comprehensive.  Conciseness is a linguistic virtue, but it should never come at the cost of imprecision.  A word left out of a sentence can often distract or confuse.

5. Be Compelling.  A compelling review immediately grabs attention, reads smoothly and without reliance on cliched phrases, and leaves the reader with a snap, crackle, and pop windup.