Working on Style

My writing style, particularly when I’m trying to convey an important idea, is unnecessarily complex and overwrought.

I’m working on it, though.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

4 Responses to “Working on Style”

  1. Z. M. Davis Says:

    This doesn’t have to do with superfluous complexity, but if you’re accepting general writing tips: I recall that on many occasions on Overcoming Bias, you’ve said that some idea was flawed or incorrect without explaining why, as if you expected everyone to just get it. But we can’t read your mind.

    I think if you’d town down the (apparent) condescension, and say things explicitly the first time instead of leaving people to guess, then you wouldn’t get called a troll so often—though I’m guessing that’s not really one of your main concerns.

    I really liked this, though.

  2. It’s not so much that I expect people to read my mind. I seem to think that deriving statements from logical assumptions is easier than it is, and so I point out premises and leave the conclusions as an exercise for the reader.

    I do this too much. Yet there is a value to the technique – when used properly, it induces people to think for themselves and attempt to anticipate rather than just responding. It’s the properly part I have to work on.

  3. I second Z. M. Davis, except that I don’t think I inferred what you were getting at in his second link.

  4. Sorry I didn’t see and respond to this earlier.

    I am clearly suggesting that, of the three statements, two are correct. I do not indicate which two, but suggest that this can be determined.

    The prime indication is thus that the incorrect statement can be identified, either on its own rights, or by assuming each combination of two of the three statements and looking for contradictions.

    As it turns out, the problematic statement is the last one, that the universe is not made out of math.

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