> This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
— Gary Provost
There's a rule in writing: the closer two words are to each other, the more direct the meaning. Such directness is great for expressing first-hand experience or plain cause-and-effect.
Take these two examples:
> I found that the chair was comfortable.
> I found the chair comfortable.
The second sentence implies that I learned this directly—by sitting in the chair. The first leaves open the possibility that I found out by another means: perhaps asking others or doing a survey. The closer the terms "the chair" and "comfortable", the more direct the meaning.
> Sam killed Harry.
> Sam caused Harry to die.
In this example, "Sam" and "die" are separated by other words, which loosens the causation in the sentence. The phrase becomes more ambiguous: did Sam kill Harry, or did she do something that brought about his death?
> I was once told that writing anything over 3000 words forces you to contend with your personal demons.
— Toby Shorin, After Authenticity
Per the pamphlet, there were nine steps for translating into Freddish:
“State the idea you wish to express as clearly as possible, and in terms preschoolers can understand.” Example: It is dangerous to play in the street.
“Rephrase in a positive manner,” as in It is good to play where it is safe.
“Rephrase the idea, bearing in mind that preschoolers cannot yet make subtle distinctions and need to be redirected to authorities they trust.” As in, “Ask your parents where it is safe to play.”
“Rephrase your idea to eliminate all elements that could be considered prescriptive, directive, or instructive.” In the example, that’d mean getting rid of “ask”: Your parents will tell you where it is safe to play.
“Rephrase any element that suggests certainty.” That’d be “will”: Your parents can tell you where it is safe to play.
“Rephrase your idea to eliminate any element that may not apply to all children.” Not all children know their parents, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play.
“Add a simple motivational idea that gives preschoolers a reason to follow your advice.” Perhaps: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is good to listen to them.
“Rephrase your new statement, repeating the first step.” “Good” represents a value judgment, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them.
“Rephrase your idea a ﬁnal time, relating it to some phase of development a preschooler can understand.” Maybe: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part of growing.