Earlier this semester I was working with my students to craft class newspapers and quickly found that they had never really been taught to write concisely. They were used to writing long, flowery (read: bullshitty) prose that went on and on for days and days about very little.
At a loss for what to do I asked my old Wisconsin State Journal co-worker, George, what he would do to help explain writing compact news articles.
George suggested having them write love letters to strangers. He explained, “When I was learning Norwegian, I had difficulty writing because I was trying to translate in my head as I went along from English to Norwegian. I should have been simplifying everything, because the whole point of communication is to have someone understand your message. There is nothing worse than a misunderstood love letter. So I used it as an exercise in explaining to students that if you think of presenting your message in a foreign language, that is one way to keep it simple.” Continue reading Things my students wrote: Love letters to strangers