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"A nickname is the heaviest stone that the (Strong) Devil can throw at a man..."
via a Blog by William Hazlitt essay circa 1828
For most of human history, ideas and arguments were spoken and not written. We've lost touch with these aural forms of thought and knowledge... Spinning Stories
If it’s ever fair to say that anything has ‘changed everything,’ it’s fair to say so about the internet,” Virginia Heffernan writes early on in her new book Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art.
Is the Internet's Blogosphere an Enormous Work of Realist Art?
Good writers often break rules—but they know they're doing it!
Australia doesn’t yet link up its blogs like the UK does at blogs.gov.uk … but it can still take advantage of the wisdom and lessons that have been built through that community.
The UK government blogging community came together in May for #GovBlogCamp. In a post-camp blog post (of course), the UK Intellectual Property Office’s Kirsty Edwards wrote:
“The purpose of the day was to bring together all blog owners on GOV.UK to meet under the same roof and discuss many topics, ultimately with our readers at heart.Have they been successful? You can judge yourself at ipo.blogs.gov.uk.
“GDS opened the day and talked about the importance of blogging: ‘Everyone in GOV.UK is encouraged to blog about what they’re doing and learning – including their mistakes.’
“I couldn’t agree more and this is something I encourage within the IPO. But, I think we still have room to do more of this. Blogging can become part of everyone’s roles. It shows you’re engaged and take pride in your work. It also offers our customers the chance to get involved, start discussions and comment. What a great way of seeking feedback!”
How to write a brilliant blog in government
Nota Bene: IPO also produced a video on how to write a brilliant blog, intended for fellow government employees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM1iUDfjynY
There is a fine addition to beloved writers’ advice on writing. One of his key observations is the crucial difference between “good writing” and “talented writing,” the former being largely the product of technique (and we know from H.P. Lovecraft that “no aspiring author should content himself with a mere acquisition of technical rules”), the other a matter of linguistic and aesthetic sensitivity.
Virginia Woolf knew subtlety was the key to craftsmanship when she counseled that “we have to allow the sunken meanings to remain sunken, suggested, not stated.” “All bad writers are in love with the epic,” Hemingway admonished. The talented writer, Delany reminds us, is a master of induction, suggesting the general through the deft deployment of the specific, and in the process producing an even greater dramatic effect than the bombast of sweeping statements ever could.
In fact, the true potency of “talented writing,” Delany suggests, lies in its ability to compress subtle yet all-consuming sensation into an enormously efficient information packet. In many ways, the talented writer possesses the same qualities Wordsworth ascribed to the poet when he described him as someone “endowed with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind.” Delany concludes:
Talented writing tends to contain more information, sentence for sentence, clause for clause, than merely good writing. … It also employs rhetorical parallels and differences. . . . It pays attention to the sounds and rhythms of its sentences. . . . Much of the information it proffers is implied. … These are among the things that indicate talent.
“Words have their own firmness,” Susan Sontag reflected in her diary. “Use the right word, not its second cousin,” Mark Twain famously advised, but great writing isn’t just a mere matter of concision. As E.B. White reminded us, “Writing is not an exercise in excision, it’s a journey into sound.” Delany bisociates this dual requirement for precision and eloquence, with precision and eloquence. *About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews goes on to explore such facets of the craft as character and plot development, the intricacies of “pure storytelling,” and how to manage creative doubt.
As writer Susan Sontag says, “The story must strike a nerve — in me. My heart should start pounding when I hear the first line in my head. I start trembling at the risk.” Surviving Seven Cold River Crossings
It’s important to have a strong balance in your life, so writing doesn’t consume all of it. In writer and painter Henry Miller’s 11 commandments of writing, he advises, “Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.”
Steal from the Best so Czech out Gurus aka Subject Matter Experts BohemianBlogfather
The belief that you need to be a "good writer" to write effectively is a myth that has insalubrious consequences ... On “good writers”
Walk the Nile, see Shakespeare in China, voyage by train as a well-dressed hobo — and be sure to write about it. We’ve never had more travel writing, but Is it Any Good?
For Carlyle, some minds were like ducks. Melville likened critics to asses. Blake wrote about “reptiles of the mind.” Why animal metaphors describe how we think... Metaphors
“Hey, Matthew Norman here, I need you to make a room full of people suddenly materialize in Baltimore and be interested in me or I’m going to have a nervous breakdown right here in front of the Danielle Steele section.”
What to Do When No One Shows Up To Your Reading
Used to be that any self-respecting member of the literati tried to sound English, not American. Then, in only 15 months, Yankee diction conquered the world
Links to Links The Internet Can Cultivate Writing. Good Writing
Bad writing is written defensively; good writing is a way of making the self as vulnerable as possible. What makes bad writing bad?
“Words are just the medium through which the transfer happens,” says King. In his advice on writing, Vonnegut also recommends that writers “use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.”
Award-winning Australian writer Candice Fox talks about the dark art of writing Twists
Imagine you were an artist. Would you sketch the broad outline, and then step back and expect someone else to execute the shading? Probably not.
The secrets behind the practice of good writing: Respect the tools of your trade
Avoid 77 or so common writing errors, and you'll be good to go
As solicitor sleuth Ben O’Keeffe returns in Treacherous Strand, the second of Andrea Carter’s Inishowen mysteries, the author reflects on why serials can be a killer
Writing a series? Here’s a series of things to think about
Renowned author Stephen King has written over 50 books that have captivated millions of people around the world.
In his memoir, “On Writing,” King shares valuable insights into how to be a better writer. And he doesn’t sugarcoat it. He writes, “I can’t lie and say there are no bad writers. Sorry, but there are lots of bad writers.” 22 lessons from Stephen King on how to be a great writer
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