“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” My mom would tell me that when I was getting mouthy as a kid, but those words took on a different meaning when I started working in the communications industry.
My editor at the Chicago radio station where I worked taught me to keep the story to three short sentences. For a radio listener, 30-seconds is an eternity; more than enough time to switch stations. I became an expert at writing pithy, tight copy. At the station, the mantra was: “write tight or not at all.”
Today, social media is shrinking the word count again. Twitter sets the maximum character count at 140. Recently, a high school freshmen I know was asked to write her memoir in seven words. She could do it in just a couple minutes: “Asked to put on high heels. Screamed.”
Now more than ever, Mom’s advice is still valid.