Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Concise writing achieves communication in pure form.

So it's considerate on his 207th birthday to celebrate Edgar Allen Poe's "one-sitting rule" of writing.

In "The Philosophy of Composition," Poe extols brevity for the effect it creates.

"If any literary work is too long to be read at one sitting, we must be content to dispense with the immensely important effect derivable from unity of impression—for, if two sittings be required, the affairs of the world interfere, and every thing like totality is at once destroyed."

Long-windedness deprives a piece "of the vastly important artistic element, totality, or unity, of effect," Poe says.

"It appears evident, then, that there is a distinct limit, as regards length, to all works of literary art—the limit of a single sitting."

Using the right tools are just as important, Poe insists in "How to Write a Blackwood Article."

"In the first place, your writer of intensities must have very black ink, and a very big pen, with a very blunt nib. No individual, of however great genius, ever wrote without a good pen a good article."
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