Suggest improvements for the highlighted problem area:
I was surprised when I was first made aware that Lake Tanganyika had no outlet in 1874. At about that time, however, tectonic activity changed local drainage systems. In 1876 Stanley determined (or at least he took credit for doing so) that the lake was draining by way of the Lukuga into the Congo. And wouldn't ya know it, fine readers, that pond on the hill let loose with ten meters of H2O over the next two-score years.
When writing a personal letter to a close friend, feel free to write in any style. But when writing for an unknown audience, it is inappropriate to write in a chatty or breezy style.
- Style: Avoid Breeziness -
Suggestion: When it is appropriate to write from a distance, do not get so involved that you forsake purposeful communication for idle and self-centered chitchat.
Our opening paragraph ends with a sentence that presumptuously assumes that the reader is the best of friends. It is so breezy it seems immature and offensive:
And wouldn't ya know it, fine readers, that pond on the hill let loose with ten meters of H2O over the next two-score years.
The only reason to tolerate a breezy style is to keep the writing going. Maybe for the first draft, late at night when we and tired and punchy. But we must sober up in the morning and edit such rough and chatty material. Rewrite until the result is clear and sincere:
Within forty years the level of the lake had decreased ten meters.
Readers can, deep down, be offended when they come across writing that is too personal, opinionated, or chatty. It offends because it indicates that the author either is condescending or is unwilling to craft clear sentences. So, as writers we should avoid these results of egotism and laziness. We should write from a distance, with clarity and sincerity. (Write unto others as you would have them write unto you.)