March 31, 2008 at 6:11 pm | Posted in writing | 60 Comments
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Are you guilty of schmoozing by comment? Why yes I am. I am not qualified to criticise and I believe that the best way to help someone to improve their writing is by highlighting the good you see in it and offering encouragement and support. If I see something that looks to me like it could be improved I say nothing because if I offer a suggestion and it is accepted and the work changed, to me, that raises questions of authorship but more importantly doesn’t teach the helpee anything because it does not speak to the connection between that general rule of craft and the particular effect in the readers mind. Never ever mention linebreaks and feel free to tell me I am full of shit. The only way to teach writing is by writing as best you can. And this is very easy and fundamental, if it doesn’t swing to some beat it’s real hard to read. The major motive force in craft is leading the readers mind, like the eye follows the words, behind which skips a thought in strange fancy clothes, bells and makeup,
the rhythm is not in the words, it is under them, the words bob around on the rhythm and like a country musician learns just behind the beat is lazy and relaxed and in front of it hurries, verbs are transposable, tone is in their position in the clause, talons,
my hatred of critics, of genre, of stuffy old grammar grannies, of all the postfacto analysis and name creating, postpostneoclassicism, knows no bounds, the only reason writing exists is to be read, being readable is the only rule,

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