《On Writing Well, 25th Anniversary》的笔记-第1页
- 页码：第1页 2013-06-17 04:39:12
Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or eve the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, ti’s because it is hard. /*Style*/ Writing is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it. Use its energy to keep yourself going. /*Words*/ E. B. White makes the case cogently in The Elements of Style, a book every writer should read once a year, when he suggests trying to rearrange any phrase that has survived for a century or two... Remember that words are the only tools your’ve got. Learn to use them with originality and care. /*Usage*/ What is good usage? One helpful approach is to try to separate usage from jargon... Good usage, to me, consists of using good words if they already exist- as they almost always do-to express myself clearly and simply to someone else. You might say it’s how I verbalize the interpersonal. /*Unity*/ All writing is ultimately a question of solving a problem It may be a problem of where to obtain the facts or how to organize the material. It may be a problem of approach or attitude, tone or style. Whatever it is, it has to be confronted and solved. Unity is the anchor of good writing... one choice is unity of pronoun... Unity of tense is another choice... Another choice is unity of mood. Therefore ask yourself some basic questions before you start. For example: “In what capacity am I going to address the reader?” “What pronoun and tense am I going to use?”... “How much do I want t cover?” “What one point do I want to make?” /*Bits & Pieces*/ Use active verbs unless there is no comfortable way to get around using a passive verb. The difference between an active-verb style and a passive-verb style-in clarity and vigor-is the difference between life and death for a writer. Most adverbs unnecessary. Most adjectives are also unnecessary. Prune out the small words that qualify how you feel and how you think and what you saw... They dilute your style and your persuasiveness. ... the semicolon brings the reader, if not to a halt, at least to a pause. So use it with discretion, remembering that it will slow to a Victorian pace the late-20th century momentum you’re striving for, and rely instead on the period and the dash. The dash is used in two ways. One is to amplify or justify in the second part of the sentence a thought you stated in the first part. The other use involves two dashes, which set apart a parenthetical thought within a longer sentence. There’s no stronger word than “but” at the start. It announces total contrast with what has gone before... Don’t start a sentence with “however”-it hangs there like a wet dishrag. And don’t end with “however”-by that time it has lost its howeverness. Always use “that” unless it makes your meaning ambiguous... In most situations, “that” is what you would naturally say and therefore what you should write. Surprisingly often a difficult problem in a sentence can be solved by simply getting rid of it. Keep your paragraphs short. Rewriting is the essence of writing well: it’s where the game is won or lost. /*The Tyranny of Final Product*/ As an editor and a teacher I’ve found that the most untaught and underestimated skill in nonfiction writing is how to organize a long article: how to put the jigsaw puzzle together. Writing is related to character. If your values are sound, you writing will be sound. It all begins with intention. Figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it, and work your way with humanity and integrity to the completed article. Then you’ll have something to sell. /*A Writer’s Decisions*/ Readers can process only one idea at a time, and they do it in linear sequence. Much of the trouble that writers get into comes from trying to make one sentence do too much work. Decide what you want to do. Then decide to do it. Then do it.
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