You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page. On the nature of recognizing mediocrity, so that you might avoid it yourself: we need to experience the mediocre and the outright rotten; such experience helps us to recognize those things when they begin to creep into our own work, and to steer clear. What is the job of the writer? The next time you hear someone struggle to capture a moment, a feeling, an idea, you'll know: we've all heard someone say, "Man, it was so great (or so horrible/strange/funny).
But the bad news is that if you're at all like me, you'll probably read over what you've written and spend the rest of the day obsessing, and praying that you do not die before you can completely rewrite or destroy what you have written. Ditch the belief that your first drafts should be good. Brainstorm horizontally, edit vertically. Remember that blades and words becomes sharp by filing them down. Like carving a sculpture from marble, you need excess material to revise your way to "no words have been wasted.". On Writing by Stephen King. From fundamental truisms on the nature of the craft to down-to-earth advice on forming a consistent writing habit, this book is a classic-you all knew it would be here. With no need to introduce it, i'm better off sharing some of my favorite passages. First, on approaching the blank page: you can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair-the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart.
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I world won't accept money. Every time i tell them the same thing when we are through: "Today you. that line is moving and stays with you. Damn good communication, in short. You'll learn quite a few things about how to accomplish this in your own writing by reading this book.
Bird by bird by Anne lamott, as one reviewer put it, highlighting the best parts of this book is a fruitless endeavor as you'd be better off dipping the whole thing in yellow highlighter. No matter what style or medium, it is a book that every writer should read. There are concerns that loom over every "new" writer that always seem foolish as time passes. Seeing a great writer's finished work is only seeing their highlight reel-their process is an enigma, and can create a sense that such talent came to them naturally, like dictation from God. Any final essay only reveals the smallest percentage of total effort: only those ideas which made the cut. Anne lamott's passage that owns up to the struggle of every first draft perfectly captures the importance of knowing that good writers become great through revision: And often the right words do come, and you-well-"write" for a while; you put a lot boarding of thoughts down.
It gets old fast. When used well a short sentence can bring clarity, heighten suspense, or place a magnifying glass on a point of interest. With the added power of spacing it can feel like it rests all alone; that it's too critical to be with anything else. The abridged summary is that a man was stranded on the side of the road and then graciously helped by a caring Mexican family. When he tried to give them money, this was the response: he sees the 20 in my hand and is just shaking his head no, like he won't take.
All I can think to say is "Por favor, por favor, por favor" with my hands out. He just smiles, shakes his head and with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English: "Today you. Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best f*cking tamale of all time and I just cried. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn't deal. In the 5 months since i have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport.
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And i use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when i am certain the reader is rested, i will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals-sounds. So write with a combination good of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader's ear. Don't just write words. Good writing moves you effortlessly through the words. Reading suddenly becomes as quick as thought. Part of mastering flow, this "music" in writing, is understanding the interplay between short and long sentences. Short sentences must be accompanied by expanded thinking, otherwise they slow things down to a snail's pace.
But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. I vary the sentence human length, and I create music. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences.
readily understood by a larger audience. A perfect example of revising prose. 100 ways to Improve your Writing by gary Provost, the book you've all seen in passing, but haven't read. Because it is the source of this famous excerpt on writing: This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine.
Revising Prose by richard Lanham, a book i recommend for its memorable examples. My favorite comes from Warren Buffet, who has a deep rooted respect for clear communication within companies. His own shareholder letters are so well written that they are often considered the gold standard for the medium. Former sec chairman Arthur levitt was so fond of Buffet's prose that he asked him to write an introduction for the sec's official Plain English Handbook, which seeks to eliminate the jargon from disclosure documents. Levitt tells a story of how he once asked Buffett to translate a passage from a mutual fund prospectus into English spoken by real people. The original text was as follows: Maturity and duration management decisions are made in the context of an intermediate maturity orientation. The maturity structure of the portfolio is tree adjusted in anticipation of cyclical interest rate changes. Such adjustments are not made in an effort to capture short term, day-to-day movements in the market, but instead are implemented in anticipation of the longer term secular shifts in the levels of interest rates.
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English-Russian dictionary of general lexicon. More meanings of this word and writing English-Russian, russian-English translations for writing-book in dictionaries. Remove the fanfare and most writing advice boils down to read more, write more, and get better feedback. Let's talk about that first one. If writing is output, reading is often the most important input. You'll understand what makes Hemingway's writing exceptional (or overrated) by reading his books, not from taking his advice. Study your idols, as that is a much more rewarding and reliable strategy. That said, there are a number of useful books on writing that can supplement your education. . Here are five that I have always kept close:.