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BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?

Rapparee 23 Aug 07 - 04:57 PM
Bonzo3legs 23 Aug 07 - 04:43 PM
John Hardly 23 Aug 07 - 04:41 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Aug 07 - 03:57 PM
alanabit 23 Aug 07 - 03:54 PM
gnu 23 Aug 07 - 03:49 PM
Amos 23 Aug 07 - 03:43 PM
Ebbie 23 Aug 07 - 03:39 PM
John Hardly 23 Aug 07 - 03:29 PM
gnu 23 Aug 07 - 03:26 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 07 - 03:21 PM
gnu 23 Aug 07 - 03:18 PM
gnu 23 Aug 07 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,Ian cookieless 23 Aug 07 - 03:06 PM
Alba 23 Aug 07 - 03:04 PM
Rapparee 23 Aug 07 - 02:38 PM
M.Ted 23 Aug 07 - 02:37 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Aug 07 - 02:17 PM
katlaughing 23 Aug 07 - 02:08 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 04:57 PM

Try, try very very hard, to know the difference between "it's" and "its". (Hint: one is an exception to the rule that an "'s" is used to denote ownership.)


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 04:43 PM

End all sentences with a preposition!


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 04:41 PM

"She could hear him smile from the other room."

Nice turn of phrase. I don't mean to be contrarian, and maybe it doesn't fir the flow of the rest of the text, but I am reminded of hearing a radio guy once say that it was very important for him to learn that his radio audience could tell when he was smiling. It made me start noticing the same thing -- that even a singing voice will reflect a smile. Listen to John Pizzarelli some time. You can definitely "hear him smile from the other room".


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:57 PM

I'm with ebbie on flow. If I'm reading something and i suddenly hit an awkward phrase, it stops me cold. A recent example in a book I'm reading right now by a writer who I value as high as anyone: "She could hear him smile from the other room." C'mon!!!!!! What, he has really bad braces and they click when he smiles?

And while you're at it, I'd appreciate it if people would take it easy on adjectives.

My favorite book on writing is Bird By Bird by Amm Lamott. The book is hilarious and wise.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: alanabit
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:54 PM

As an occasional translator, I would be happy if someone were to impress upon Germans the diference between a sentence and a paragraph. Too much of the drivel, which I have to unravel, is written by people who have a disticnct aversion to using full stops.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: gnu
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:49 PM

I stand corrected. But, I ain't never gonna tell me mum the difference if she ever corrects me again. Even tho I outweigh her by a good hunnert pounds, she's well bigger 'n me.

My apologies, darlin.

gnuslinkingawayinshame


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:43 PM

Cleave to brevity; cleave to the Anglo-Saxon; cleave to the ineluctable; stimulate thought and pictures.

And remember that absolutes are unobtainable.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:39 PM

I think the 'flow' from one sentence to another makes the difference between a book well worth reading and a book that is almost too much effort. I will read a first person account that may use clumsy and fragmented sentences and thoughts but only if it is on a subject that I find compelling. I much prefer graceful writing.

Who was it who said: Forgive the length of this letter; I didn't have time to write a short one.

I agree with those who say that clarity and pithiness are essentials of good writing. I can't always do it but I know it when I see it. *g


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:29 PM

One thing that is constantly being hammered home to me about writing...

The most important thing about writing is having something worth writing about. Content.

The next most important thing about good (sorry, gnu, but it's an adjective modifying a noun) writing is knowing how to make the writing as transparent as possible. If you don't know the rules of grammar well enough to accomplish this (I usually don't), then you better have some other really good rule-breakers that folks find enjoyable.

Finally, if you don't have content that's worth writing about, then you need to have a few good tricks up your sleeve to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear you've been handed.

I've read some pretty good silk purses that began their lives as sow's ears.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: gnu
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:26 PM

Heheheheehee!


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:21 PM

If you don't know how to use an apostrophe, don't use it. Too many apostrophes make you look far stupider than too few.

Stamp out extraneous apostrophe's apostrophes!

Oh, I suppose you could argue that I'm talking about good grammar and not good writing - but I think a reasonable ability in grammar is absolutely necessary for a writer. So, grammar is an absolute. Otherwise, you look dumb.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: gnu
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:18 PM

Oh yeah. I've posted this many times before.... and, if you are to be an editor, maybe you can help to rid the world of, "I will try AND do..." It IS, "I will try TO do..." Makes my skin crawl.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: gnu
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:14 PM

Hmmmm. That's a poser. Perhaps I should refrain from being pedantic. However, I know you will appreciate constructive criticism in humourous form. Sooooooo.... perhaps you meant to ask, "What are the absolutes of writing well?

Sorry. I couldn't resist. I hope you did see the humour and that all is well and good.

Of course, the fact of the matter is old grammar rules and definitions are broken down every day. Modern writing is not so confined as my "example". I highly recommend realtively new texts dealing with "modern effective writing". While there are many simplistic changes as of late, such as "Here is..." instead of "Enclosed please find...", many of the texts delve much further into the topics raised in the posts above and are worth reading.

An engineering professor who taught me at Uni used to give us writing exercises that were gruelling! For example, he forbade the use of the word "the" in one research report. (Oops.... For example, he forbade use of the word "the" in one research report.) And, there were others. "That" was never allowed at any time. Paragraphs limited to three sentences.... etc... excellent brain exercise. Especially for lydexics me like.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:06 PM

Avoid cliches.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Alba
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:04 PM

I would suggest reading some of the posts on the Mudcat Bad Writing Contest Health Warning: Might be an idea NOT to read every example on that Thread as one can only handle so much bad writing!! By reading few of the posts there you will find yourself becoming VERY aware of the absolutely never do's when it comes to writing ...*Grin*
If the above sounds like more than even the most hardened reader could take then.....
It might be more pleasant to just read a lovely Book by Author Kat LaFrance called 'Wind Words of Wyoming'....You'lle get the drift about the absolutes right there..:)

Love to All
Jude


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 02:38 PM

Clarity, brevity, and wit (in every sense of that word).


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 02:37 PM

Good writing is clear and direct. And brief.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 02:17 PM

As long as it makes linguistic sense and holds the readers attention - None!

D.


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Subject: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 02:08 PM

I am testing for a freelance editing job and was asked this question. I'll post my short answer, later. In the meantime, how would you answer this question?


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