Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Writing Tip 13 - Word Choice

When writing be aware that your vocabulary is limited by your experience.  Reaching beyond your own vocabulary enriches your writing.  So many words are available in the English language, yet most of us aren't familiar with but a fraction of them.  Granted, many available words are unlikely to be understood by most readers, but for each one of these, there are 2 or 3 gems not often used but widely understood and interesting.  Challenge and inform your readers by using words they may not be familiar with, but should be.  Don't go overboard by using words that are too ivory towerish, condescending, or obtrusive (unpleasantly or unduly noticeable).
Pepper your writing with words outside your customary vocabulary.  Just don't overdo it.  Making a deliberate practice of this over time is sound writing policy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Writing Tip 12 - Business Agreements

When writing an agreement to bind two or more parties, distinguish between what is essential to the bargain, and the superfluous. While it is important to address reasonably expected future contingencies, it is an exercise in futility to attempt to address every imaginable contingency. Consider the odds of a contingency's occurrence; if it is slim, leave it out. Balance the possible usefulness of addressing contingencies against the values of brevity and clarity.

Make sure the agreement serves the objects of the parties, and not the objects of professionals who are charging for its legaleze. If an agreement is a burden for its readers, it's less likely to be honored, and more likely to confuse. If it's clear, honest, and simple then the parties are more likely to perceive it as "fair", more likely to honor it, and less likely to hide behind its confusing provisions.