Stay short and get to the point.
Simple, but way harder than it seems.
Have you read this Michael Kinsley piece on why newspaper articles are just too long:
This is all true of course, but it applies with equal force to legal briefs and even crappy blog posts.
The software industry has a concept known as “legacy code,” meaning old stuff that is left in software programs, even after they are revised and updated, so that they will still work with older operating systems. The equivalent exists in newspaper stories, which are written to accommodate readers who have just emerged from a coma or a coal mine. Who needs to be told that reforming health care (three words) involves “a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system” (nine words)? Who needs to be reminded that Hillary Clinton tried this in her husband’s administration without success? Anybody who doesn’t know these things already is unlikely to care. (Is, in fact, unlikely to be reading the article.)
Then there is “inverted-pyramid style”—an image I have never quite understood—which stands for the principle of putting the most-crucial information at the top of a story and leaving the details for below. Pyramid style is regarded as a bit old-fashioned these days, hence all those florid subordinate clauses at the top of both the Times and the Post versions of the health-care story. The revolt against pyramid style is also why you get those you’ll-never-guess-what-this-is-about, faux-mystery narrative leads about Martha Lewis, a 57-year-old retired nurse, who was sitting in her living room one day last month watching Oprah when the FedEx delivery man rang her doorbell with an innocent-looking envelope … and so on. (The popularity of this device is puzzling, since the headline—“Oprah Arrested in FedEx Anthrax Plot”—generally gives the story away.) But ruthless adherence to classic inverted-pyramid style can also lead to repetition of the story again and again, with one or two more nuggets of information each time.And then, finally, comes the end, or “tag.” Few writers can resist the lure of closure—some form of summing-up or leave-taking. Often this is a quote that repeats the central point one last time, perhaps combining it with some rueful irony about the limits of human agency.
Most web readers -- readers in general? -- have short attention spans, and usually have heard something about your topic before they even get to your blog.
That means they are there for your take, your reaction -- is it funny, ironic, enlightening, dumb as bricks?
Whatever it is you have to get to it immediately or the reader loses interest and clicks on to some other bookmarked page -- usually boobies.
The same is true with writing a good brief -- was it Justice Roberts who remarked that he never read a brief and wished it was longer?
Case in point -- Marc Randazza, who continues to amaze with his niche practice of representing cheerios-eating pajama wearers and churning out dazzling work product that is unmistakably in his voice.
Give this counterclaim of his a read.
The case is pending in Orange County circuit court and involves some guy who shot at his neighbor's dogs and garnered quite a bit of press -- anyways, he wound up suing a Gainesville blogger for defamation.
Marc's preliminary statement is concise and compelling -- it provides both context and history yet frames the entire case perfectly.
You can read the suit filed by Killgore Pearlman against Marc's client here.