What does "less is more" mean?
Since I mentioned this before, I thought I'd elaborate on the subject.
"Less is more" is much advocated by those who primarily write for the web. Writing for the web is in this context looked upon as different from other media.
First of all, usability research shows that readers are impatient. Therefore, Jacob Nielsen advocates that writers should get to the main point already within the frame of the first sentences. Thereafter, writing should be kept short, in order to provide better readability and scanability.
Research shows that readers scan rather than read texts on the web, unless they're particularly interested.
Now, interest would of course be a prerequisite to read an AAR, and most of the research done on web writing has been done with one thing in mind: to write better commercial texts. The intention? To sell. With the dotcom failure, we might suspect that these theses have been rendered obsolete.
I'm afraid not.
However, even as a copywriter, I see a huge difference in the approach between an AAR forum and a website set up to punt records, books, DVDs, shampoo or whatever else you might want to sell.
When you're out to purchase, you want as few clicks as possible to get to the product, a to-the-point description, pay and go.
Literature simply doesn't work the same ways. And, most of the AARs in this forum are, by definition, literature. So, why apply the "less is more" maxim?
I write copy when I write AARs. I try to keep the "unecessary" sentences and words out of it. Why? Hopefully, it makes the writing more accesible. Even journos like Hemingway managed to get people to read his books by doing so, and was even hailed as a writer revolutionising the styles of writing.
I do, however, see that this isn't suitable to most people. I'm no writer. I'm a copywriter. Plotlines are important, as they are a way of conveying the main points of the author. In our case, how the English beat us down in our socks or whatever.
I admire those who can make interesting twists to such banal references.
My recommendation is therefore, screw the "less is more" unless you feel comfortable at writing minimalist tales, and concentrate on what you feel is suitable for you.
One thing, though. Use spacing frequently. A well-spaced article, AAR or whatever is much more accessible than a densely typed old-fashioned book on the web.