Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Bit of Advice about Writing

The following was taken from Writing Alone, Writing Together: A Guide for Writers and Writing Groups by Judy Reevees.

Eight Techniques from Jack Kerouac
  • Blow as deep as you want to blow
  • Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
  • Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
  • Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
  • Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
  • Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better
  • No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language and knowledge
  • Write for the world to read and see your exact pictures of it

Nine Guidelines from William Struck Jr.

  • Choose a suitable design and hold to it.
  • Use the active voice.
  • Put statements in positive form.
  • Use definite, specific, concrete language.
  • Omit needless words.
  • Avoid a succession of loose sentences.
  • Keep related words together.
  • In summaries, keep to one tense.
  • Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

Twelve Suggestions from E.B. White

  • Place yourself in the background
  • Write in a way that comes naturally
  • Work from a suitable design
  • Write with nouns and verbs
  • Do not overwrite
  • Avoid the use of qualifiers
  • Do not affect a breezy style
  • Do not explain too much
  • Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity
  • Make sure the reader knows who is speaking
  • Do not use dialect
  • Revise and rewrite

Seven Beacons from Gary Provost

  1. Brevity
  2. Clarity
  3. Precision
  4. Harmony
  5. Humanity
  6. Honesty
  7. Poetry

Eleven "Fumblerules" from William Safire

  • No sentence fragments.
  • It behooves us to avoid archaisms.
  • Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration
  • If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, "Resist hyperbole."
  • Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
  • Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Writing carefully, dangling participles should not be used.
  • Kill all the exclamation points!!!
  • Don't verb nouns.
  • Last but not least, avoid clich├ęs like the plague.

2 comments:

Mike said...

That's some assortment of writing advice. Kerouac's techniques seem to be most appropriate for creating the initial draft, where most of the others focus on details that are more part of the revision process.

And I love Safire's "Fumblerules" that demonstrate the flaw in the rule itself.

Jim said...

Don't forget:
Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
Puns aren't for groan readers.
Proofread to be sure you don't any words out.