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Don’t Overcomplicate - How to Avoid Unnecessary Complexity

Lesson 9 from: From Structure to Style: Master Your Copywriting

Shani Raja

Don’t Overcomplicate - How to Avoid Unnecessary Complexity

Lesson 9 from: From Structure to Style: Master Your Copywriting

Shani Raja

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Lesson Info

9. Don’t Overcomplicate - How to Avoid Unnecessary Complexity

Next Lesson: Quiz - Chapter 2


Class Trailer

Chapter 1: Copywriting Fundamentals


Class Introduction - Overview of the Course Content


The Five Aspirations of a Superior Copywriter


The Importance of Defining Your Intention & Audience


The “Secret Sauce” of Good Copywriting


Quiz - Chapter 1

Chapter 2: Simplicity


Introduction - The Power of Simplicity


Lesson Info

Don’t Overcomplicate - How to Avoid Unnecessary Complexity

as writers, we often find ourselves complicating sentences more than we need to and that results in writing that is more of a burden than a pleasure to read now in this lesson. I'm gonna teach you why. It's better to do the exact opposite namely to try to remove complexity from your writing wherever you may find it. By the end, you'll know how to create a more engaging experience for your readers by uncomplicated ideas to the highest degree possible. Now there are many ways that we can complicate ideas 1st. There's something called the double negative and here's an example of that. It wasn't in his nature not to be generous. Can you spot the needless complexity in that sentence? Well, it takes a bit of time to sort it through your head, doesn't it? Try to turn it therefore into a more positive statement and see if it makes the idea faster to comprehend. Okay, well, how about this? He was a generous person or it wasn't in his nature to be stingy. Now, I'm not saying never use a double n...

egative. In fact I just use one there. But it's always worth the trouble of seeing whether you can turn them around into positive expressions without losing any of the original meaning or any particular nuance that you'd like to capture. Now, the second thing you want to avoid is something I call multiplying entities beyond necessity, try to notice when you use unnecessary descriptive words in a sentence that can turn a simple idea into something more complicated than it needs to be. And here's an example of this. It is try close first overseas international purchase since it took over and partnered with logistics firm Surefire Logistics in the year 2019. Have a go at expressing that idea more simply by removing any unnecessary descriptors. Well, how about this for a tighter sentence. It is try close first overseas purchase since the company bought Surefire Logistics in 2019. Okay, next I want to show you another way that writers tend to over complicate things by giving readers needless distractions. For instance, some writers capitalize certain words mid sentence when you don't really need to as here, I am an experienced web designer with a deep understanding of cloud software and services. Now that's quite ugly isn't it? The way it's written on the page, it's also kind of confusing because subconsciously your mind starts trying to make sense of all those capital letters in there in order to assign some kind of meaning to them when often there really isn't any. Now, how would you rewrite that more simply? Well, I'd probably just say I am an experienced web designer with a deep understanding of cloud software and services and that's so much easier on the eye, isn't it? As writers concerned with communicating. Well, we always want to think of our readers first and how we can make the reading experience as painless as possible for them. Of course, when you're actually naming an institution, you would usually need to capitalize the individual words in the title as here, the Reserve Bank of Australia or the White House. But usually at least from a style perspective, you don't really need to capitalize words if you're simply making reference to an institution, rather than actually naming it directly. As in this example, the country's Central Bank raised interest rates this week. Don't you find those capital letters? They're horribly distracting. So how might you edit it? Well, me, I would simply write the country's Central Bank raised interest rates this week like that and that's a lot more user friendly. Right in general. The fewer distractions there are, including any pointless commerce, quote marks and other kinds of punctuation. The more frictionless lee your words will fly into a reader's consciousness so that they almost forget that they're reading something. Okay, so now you've seen the various ways in which writing can be simplified to make it lighter, punchier and more engaging in the next chapter. I'm going to introduce you to the second ingredient in the secret source clarity, quality that will give your writing another dimension of power and beauty. But first there's another short quiz at the end of this video which will help you embed the simplicity teachings given in this chapter