Make Writing Succinct
This term means that wording should be refined to highlight the essential message. Terseness is a mark of neat and thematically explicit writing. The idea originates from the process of cleansing metal ores for the removal of impurities, or from that of smelting metals. Figuratively, it refers to an authorial effort to capture the core message by cutting out redundant wording. As a way of writing, this involves the refinement of both content and wording; it sets a more clear-cut requirement on writers than the idea of “fusion for greater brevity,” which was proposed by Liu Xie (465?-520) of the Southern Dynasties. As a literary style, it calls for full agreement between wording, aspiration, and philosophical thought, as well as for conciseness.
Wouldn’t it be far better to cleanse our souls, forge our character, nurture our aspiration or ponder any question under the guidance of Dao? That being the case, even if life remains tough, we will still feel morally accomplished. So long as we are in good health and understand things well, then everything is fine, isn’t it? (The History of Song of the Southern Dynasties)
This is like extracting gold from ores, or silver from chunks of lead. We smelt repeatedly for the sole purpose of attaining perfect purity. It is also like precious spring waters cascading down into an empty pool or a shining ageold mirror showing the charm of objects. We appreciate truth in all its simplicity, preserve our natural purity, and return to the celestial palace amid the beautiful moonlight. We look up at the sky full of stars, chanting in tribute to recluses of old. They are as precious as today’s spring water and as pure as an incarnation of the bright moon. (Sikong Tu: Twenty-four Styles of Poetry)
Nothing will be clean until it is cleansed. Nothing will be pure until it is refined. Only by ridding ourselves of any banality, can we become truly original. (Sun Liankui: A Random Interpretation of “Twenty-four Styles of Poetry”)