Clear writing should use as few words as required, but no fewer.
I am finding joy in thinking through the structure of writing. How the words, sentences, and paragraphs describe an idea. Staying Criminal Law has made me aware of how vital word choices are.
In some cases, it is life and death.
Most writing, especially textbooks, is far too cumbersome and complex. 1,000 words are used where 100 would suffice. I understand where this comes from; they are trying to be comprehensive and authoritative on the subject.
And for a reference textbook, this is fine. For essay writing, this isn’t good enough. Ideas should be clear enough that they can be accessible by non-experts. This benefits both the reader and the writer. The reader can finally understand the topic, and the writer is forced to truly understand the subject matter.
I have noticed that books from Italian scientific authors translated into English read very well. Carlo Rovelli’s “The Order of Time” and Stefano Mancuso’s “The Revolutionary Genius of Plants” approach poetry. They explain complex subjects: the physics and illusion of time and the intricate nature of plants.
And yet, they are both easy and enjoyable reads.
I wonder if this is a coincidence or whether translating from Italian to English creates this effect.