We keep an office on a working pier in Portland, Maine. Nothing fancy, but our windows offer views of working boats. Boats embody efficient design. The best ones offer crews everything they need and leave off anything that gets in the way or adds weight. Maybe that’s why they’re so beautiful.

Beautiful boats inspire one of our writing principles:

Include everything the reader needs—and nothing else.

Reminding ourselves and our writers to follow this principle leads to more efficient, and more beautiful, sentences. When we review a draft, we look for words, phrases, sentences and passages that don’t support the intended message. When we cut that material, the draft comes into sharper focus. The writer and editor can then see whether the story includes everything the reader is likely to need.

Reading a good piece of writing can feel like sleeping on a well-designed boat. There’s the feeling that strangers took great care on your behalf. It feels safe. You want to thank someone.