Thursday, May 17, 2012


Brevity is the Soul of Wit
Musings on Blogging

I have got feedback that my blog posts are too long.

I agree.

My span of attention on the screen is much less than my span of attention on paper. 

Also, my eyes get fatigued faster too. 

I noticed this while reading an ebook on my friend’s ebook reader recently and decided to defer buying an ebook reader till I feel more comfortable.

At least, as of now, I prefer to read paper books. 

They say ebooks will soon edge out paper books and the “electronic word” will replace the “printed word”. 

This will surely affect writing style and a wannabe author like me must take note of it.

Brevity, simple words, small paragraphs, light forgettable reads – these seem to be the requisites of new creative writing. 

You are just going to glance through and browse. Reading on a screen is something like seeing a movie, in contrast to reading on paper where you can pause, re-read, reflect, assimilate, absorb, ruminate and then let what you have read perambulate in the mind for years to come. 

There will be a paradigm shift in reading style – new-age reading will be hurried, “read and forget” style; not the erstwhile unhurried “read and savour” style. 

Now you have no time to think or to ponder over what you have read – you just want to read and forget, and quickly get on to the next page.

Writers (especially Bloggers) cannot afford to “tax the brain” of the reader. This is because of the fact that when you read on a laptop or PC screen you cannot think as clearly as when you read on paper. I have noticed this myself during my research work too, when I referred to IEEE journals, which were earlier on paper and now are available online only. 

In fact, on many occasions, I had to download and take printouts of research papers and then meticulously read them later on. (Downloading and printing defeats the very purpose of ejournals and ebooks).

This is true for creative writing too. 

I still remember stories I have read long back during my schooldays (on paper), but what I read online on the internet I tend forget very fast. 

On the internet, when you read online, on your laptop screen, you tend to read fast, as there seems to be an underlying sense of urgency to finish and go to the next page or website. 

In fact, sometimes I don’t even have the patience to finish what I am reading and want to go to another website. 

Also, there are distractions of enticing advertisements and seductive pop-ups and alluring clickable url links which tend to lure you away to new websites. 

Just imagine reading epics like WAR AND PEACE online. 

Maybe, you’ll have to take a printout and read it in peace, but then that defeats the very purpose of the electronic word and online literature.

Of course, there will be a great advantage if the proliferation of online literature reduces monopolies of the “literary middlemen” like publishers, distributors, editors, agents etc and facilitates seamless interface between authors and readers. 

Look at the phenomenon of blogging, for instance. 

Blogging has made it so easy for so many budding authors to unleash their creativity and display their talent which earlier was very difficult, since the decision whether to publish a literary work or not was exclusively in the hands of editors who formed a barrier between authors and readers. 

Now you can just post your writing on your blog for the world to read, appreciate and, most importantly, give you feedback, since blogging is interactive in nature.


I once read somewhere that characteristics of good writing can be encapsulated in three factors (Writing Triad):



Similarly, the three characteristics of good blogging (Blogging Triad) are:

FREQUENCY (of posting)
BREVITY (of posts)
PERSONALITY (of the blog/blogger)

Now let me introspect on my own blogging.

I have been posting quite regularly. 

Yes, my blogging FREQUENCY is quite good.

My blog has a distinctive PERSONALITY

So that point is taken care of.

It is the BREVITY aspect that I have to focus on – most of my posts are too long. When reading online one doesn't have the same patience and concentration as one has while reading a book on printed paper.

From now on I will endeavour to keep my blog-posts “short and sweet” – after all: “Brevity is the Soul of Wit”.

So let me try an practice what I preach.

Here, dear reader, is a short and sweet story - THEN and NOW about a Kabab Me Haddi

Kabab Me Haddi

Dramatis Personae

Aditya: 30, a bright young upwardly mobile executive.

Anjali: 27, Aditya’s wife, also a high flier executive, working in a different firm.

Nisha: 26, Anjali’s classmate and friend, just arrived in town, looking for a new job.


Aditya calls up Anjali on her cell phone. 

ADITYA: Hey, Anjali, let’s drive down to Lakeview Gardens for dinner tonight.

ANJALI: Wow…the weather is lovely…it will be really amazing driving out there…let’s go to our favourite place…

ADITYA: Cupid’s Cove…?

ANJALI: Yeah…Cupid’s Cove…I love the ambience there… Okay, I’ll tell Nisha…

ADITYA: Nisha…? Why Nisha…? Why take her…? I thought just the two of us…a romantic evening together…Let’s not have kabab mein haddi…!

ANJALI: Please Adi…try to understand…she is all alone…this place is so new to her…poor girl…she is so lonely and all at sea…Nisha has no friends except us…please let’s take her…

And so the three of them, Aditya, Anjali, and kabab mein haddi Nisha, drive down to Cupid’s Cove in Lakeview Gardens for an enjoyable dinner…



Nisha calls up Aditya on his cell phone. 

NISHA: Hey, Aditya, let’s drive down to Lakeview Gardens for dinner tonight.

ADITYA: Oh yeah…great idea…it is perfect weather for a lovely drive…it’ll be really amazing out there…let’s go to our favourite place…

NISHA: We’ll go to that lovely place…Cupid’s Cove…I love it out there…the atmosphere is so marvellous…

ADITYA: Okay…I’ll tell Anjali…

NISHA: Come on Aditya…why have kabab mein haddi… let’s go…just the two of us…a romantic evening together…

ADITYA: What shall I tell Anjali…?

NISHA: The usual…working late…meetings…

ADITYA: Okay…I’ll ring her up…and I’ll pick you up at seven…the same place…

NISHA: I’ll be waiting for you…

And so the two of them, Aditya and Nisha, drive down to Cupid’s Cove in Lakeview Gardens for a romantic dinner, without the new kabab mein haddi Anjali,  the innocent oblivious and unsuspecting wife, who stays at home wondering why her darling hubby Aditya and her best friend Nisha work so late so often...  

In this story, the good natured unsuspecting wife Anjali does not see the warning signs of the cuckoo. 
At first she persuades her reluctant husband Aditya to help out her lonely forlorn friend Nisha and she is so trusting that even later she remains oblivious when Nisha cuckolds her and surreptitiously usurps her place in her husband’s heart.  
The earlier haddi has now become the kabab and the erstwhile kabab is now treated like a haddi ... !!!
It is amazing, isn't it - How the haddi in the Kabab changes...! Or is it that the kabab itself has changed?
Can this happen in real life too? Have you seen such stories happening around you, especially at your workplace? Do comment and let us know.

Have a Bright Thursday.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To order the book please click the links below:

If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the link below:

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

very relevant to the world of blogging. i have consistently been writing posts that are in the 1200-2000 words range, and even though that is not what is recommended, i persist. this has to do with the readership i am trying to build. i am not writing for a short attention span, but for the serious reader who can work his way past multiple clauses. i also tend to revisit the central themes more than once, so that the core message is reinforced. the purpose of my writing is to enable change, and change cannot be enabled without persistent and sustained focus. in agreement with your post, vikram, as far as most blogging goes, but maybe it also depends on the objective behind the writing. your turn now.

Lost and Found said...

I agree. I cannot pay that much attention to long articles or posts on the internet. If you print it out, maybe I'll read all of it. But the scrolling, the bright screen and the discomfort of it all makes me read less. I don't think all of your posts are very long. They're long enough to hold my attention so I suppose they are pretty good in terms of content. But I'm slightly old fashioned when it comes to books. I like them better. Besides you cannot make your screen smell like old books. It is the best smell ever...

D.Nambiar said...

Mr. Karve, You should try reading on the e-ink Kindle. As it isn't back-lit, its easy on the eyes, you don't feel the strain (as you would while reading something on a laptop/ipad.)