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Forum nameMain Community Discussion Board
Topic subjectThe power of sentences
Topic URLhttp://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=17&topic_id=90716
90716, The power of sentences
Posted by mooseythehut, Tue Apr-17-12 12:44 PM
Wonderful article about the effect of language and about creating:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/my-lifes-sentences/#more-124057
90719, RE: The power of sentences
Posted by CatrinP, Tue Apr-17-12 03:39 PM
Wonderful article Moosey, thanks for pointing it out.

I've bookmarked the series and also emailed the link to my work addy. Then, in those quiet or frustrating times at work I can take a break and read something writerly.
90721, RE: The power of sentences
Posted by Weird Jim, Tue Apr-17-12 06:28 PM
Ya beat me to it. I was going to post on today's column, which is on verbs and is worth a read.

It's the third in a series of writing articles.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/make-or-break-verbs/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120417

However, she warns on using things like 'circling around, but one of her quotes has something similar. It uses 'ripples moving' and 'fish spring loose. I've never seen a ripple that doesn't move, and if a fish springs it will be loose until it crashes back into the water. (I'm open to discussion on this as I can think of a possible reason for using the terms.)

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960
90722, RE: The power of sentences
Posted by mooseythehut, Tue Apr-17-12 09:40 PM
Yeah I wasn't too crazy about the how-to articles on the site. They seem generic and not terribly useful. Case in point: she's providing style advice on making writing stronger, but then citing examples of writing style that successfully violate the advice. So umm yeah.

And to your question, Jim I think intentional redundancy for effect is fine. It's a style choice that, if used well, can be effective and awesome.

That's why I linked the other article about sentences. That was talking about how words, when used well, can be beautiful and amazing. And THAT is really what writing is- or should be- all about. It should be about creating something fantastic and moving and memorable with words. Not trying for some kind of technical mastery by following "tips and tricks."

I liked the fact the sentence article simply talked about what it's like to experience the creative process, rather than providing how-to advice: "Ten Tips to Develop Your Creative Process." It seems too many articles on writing I see are the latter rather than the former.

I don't want to bash all writing advice. There's value in some of it, but I wish more writing advice writers talked about why we're creating and what it's like to create rather than trying to give us the Magic Answer to How to Create Effectively, which usually ends up telling us nothing truly useful at all.

But I rant. Let me stop.

/endrant

Everyone go read the sentence article on a day when you're wondering "why the heck am I doing this writing thing anyway?" or a day when you're thinking "am I even doing this writing thing right?" and even on a day when you're completely and fully thrilled with doing the writing thing.

It's good every now and then to put aside thinking about the How and remind ourselves of the Why.
90724, RE: The power of sentences
Posted by Weird Jim, Wed Apr-18-12 07:33 PM
And to your question, Jim I think intentional redundancy for effect is fine. It's a style choice that, if used well, can be effective and awesome.

At times they, redundant words, can slow the action a little giving the reader time to absorb what it is that the writer wants them to picture.

"Circled around" might imply that it's a continuing thing, that there was more than one circle. "He took the calendar and circled around his children's birthdates with a red marker. (Not a very good example).

On the writing advice, often I can pick up a little here and there that suits my personality, and leave the rest, which usually doesn't stick with me anyway.


Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960
90723, RE: The power of sentences
Posted by Weird Jim, Wed Apr-18-12 07:18 PM
I don't think that I could ever read like that, and I'm sure I couldn't write the way she does. It's interesting though. For me the story is a whole.

I've never read The Dubliners, so I went seeking Araby, to try to get that sentence she quotes to find out what it was like in context. I didn't find it, but instead found an analysis of the story along with a bunch of comments on Ireland at that time.

To digress a bit, I'm not sure, after reading that, that Joyce was quite sane. Is anybody, though? Is there some such creature as the normal person? Do we all harbour nameless fears peppered with thoughts that we will never reveal? Perhaps, though, we might leave behind a secret journal for scholars of the future to disect.

For me, language is for communication, although I do enjoy a well writen book; but again, fiction is quite subjective.

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960