Monday, February 18, 2008

Writers on Writing 02

What is the basis of good writing? "Unity is the anchor of good writing." Zinsser, On Writing Well. [Unity in expository writing consists of a thesis sentence or main idea expressed early in the composition, topic sentences that clearly relate to the thesis sentence and a summary paragraph.]

How long should your paragraphs be? "Short paragraphs put air around what you write and make it look inviting, whereas one long chunk of type can discourage the reader from even starting to read." Zinsser, On Writing Well. [One of the common problems made by inexperienced writers is unbroken paragraphs that are nearly a page long. Short or medium-sized paragraphs invite reading. Long, unbroken paragraphs deter readers from reading.]

Why write? "The act of writing has always been a method of clarification for me, a way of getting down to how I really feel about an issue, a decision, a place, a person. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past. ["How do I know what I think until I see what I say?"]

Why write? "Thinking about events you have experienced, and developing perspective about them, in some ways completes them, and finding the words to express that perspective brings about a sense of closure." Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

How do professional writers write? "One thing I found out early in the game was that there was no way I could simply walk up to that room after breakfast, think of something to write about and then just spit it out in four or five hours.... I had to settle on an idea a week or so in advance and let it stew for a while. Browning, Notes from Turtle Creek. [We often prepare for writing by walking or engaging in some activity other than writing.]

Why write? Joyce Cary: "To sum up complex problems for action is an act of creative imagination." Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

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