The Direct Effect

“And when the good fathers had reached the appointed place, the house of Bernard Kiernan and Co, limited, 8, 9 and 10 little Britain street, wholesale grocers, wine and brandy shippers, licensed for the sale of beer, wine and spirits for consumption on the premises, the celebrant blessed the house and censed the mullioned windows and the groynes and the vaults and the arrises and the capitals and the pediments and the cornices and the engrailed arches and the spires and the cupolas and sprinkled the lintels thereof with blessed water and prayed that God might bless that house as he had blessed the house of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and make the angels of His light to inhabit therein.”

Raise your hand if you just skimmed that single sentence by James Joyce in Ulysses.

OK, now raise your hand if you read it three times to figure out what it was about.

I’m not saying there isn’t a time or a place for this classic. I’m just saying, you know, there isn’t always a time or a place. In the era of 140 characters, this sentence is usually just way. too. long.

(This paragraph word count = 53) In today’s world, people appreciate directness. So next time, try this exercise on for size: Write what you want to say and then cut your word count by half. I love doing this because it forces me to think about every single word I use and my end result is absolutely fantastic.

Don’t believe me? Watch this:

(This paragraph word count = 25) People appreciate directness. So next time, challenge yourself to cut your “final” draft in half. Your focus on eliminating fluff will produce fantastic results, guaranteed!

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