Shop Talk: Quick Tips To Simplify Your Writing

shoptalk copyIt’s possible to write elegantly without weaving an overabundance of flowery words throughout your prose. Just because a big word looks and sounds cool in the thesaurus doesn’t mean it belongs in your game review or feature article. Instead of writing to make yourself sound intellectually stimulating, try writing in a conversational tone that’s more digestible and easier to read. Your readers shouldn’t have to pull out a dictionary to decode what you’re trying to say.

The average attention span of visitors to gaming websites site isn’t particularly long to begin with, so they’re not going to have the patience to read more than a few sentences of your work it it’s too dense to get through. Most editors will cut a lot of that out anyway. Write what you mean in simple, easy-to-grasp terms. There’s plenty of room for personality, style, and flair in your writing, but keep the heavy duty dictionary nerdistry out of the equation. Here are a few other quick tips to keep your writing snappy and readable when churning out game reviews or other kinds of content.

Got a point? Get to it!

Rambling on and on about things that aren’t related to your article or review is a big no-no. A personal essay is one thing. A game review? That’s another. No one wants to read a lengthy aside about your little brother’s obsession with Japanese RPGs or how you’ve never played genre X when they’re trying to decide whether or not Barf Bag Simulator 3: Chunky Style is worth their hard earned money. Get to the point and save the essays for your personal blog.

Trim out the unnecessary junk

Novice writers seem especially prone to padding their articles with tons of extraneous verbiage that doesn’t really need to be there. It’s always funny to read these pieces, because you can cut out entire paragraphs and still not get to the good stuff. Don’t be the dude (or not-dude) who writes a lot without actually saying anything.

Have something to say

When you’re writing a game review, don’t be afraid to be critical. I’ve read a lot of non-reviews over the years (and admittedly have written a few myself). They’re not helpful to readers, and they’re not particularly interesting to wade through. If your job is to critique a game, be decisive and actually offer a critique. It’s OK to offer some balance. It’s OK to pan a game or praise it if there’s merit. Call it like you see it, whether you’re offering positive or negative feedback. Be honest, and back up your criticism with concrete examples.

Know the words before you use them

If you don’t know exactly what a word you’re using means, then don’t use it. Simple as that. Don’t guess, know. Nothing says amateur like using a term incorrectly. Check your assumptions too — it’s also easy to pick up bad habits from reading other writers. Just because you’ve seen something printed elsewhere doesn’t mean it was used correctly the first time.

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8 thoughts on “Shop Talk: Quick Tips To Simplify Your Writing

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