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Writing creates a window on the world

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

There is a style of writing called classic style. The literary scholars Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner present it in their book, Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose – an altogether excellent read.

One of the central metaphors they use to describe classic style is that the text written by the writer creates a window on the world through which the writer is presenting something outside the window to the reader. The process of writing and then reading brings the writer and reader together to look out the window.

This metaphor when carried into business writing, has a number of important implications for you as a business writer:

  • You are writing to your reader but think of the process as if you were standing next to your reader and having a conversation with them.

  • Your writing is creating a window to show them something in the world; hence, make your window as clear as possible.

  • Your language should be plain and simple, not pompous and ornate. The latter is like putting a decorative lace curtain in front of your window: that is all the reader is going to look at and they won’t see what you are trying to show them outside the window.

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