Eschewing Obsfucation

22/08/2009

Thought that Hemingway’s philosophy for writing might be interesting, but it’s not.
This article about his Fight-Club-alike rules includes the following gem, which I hope is tongue in cheek but suspect is not:
Rather than embracing the flowery prose of the literati, he chose to eschew obfuscation at every turn and write simply and clearly.

Much more satisfying is John Gardner:
If you have taken the time to learn to write beautiful, rock-firm sentences, if you have mastered evocation of the vivid and continuous dream, if you are generous enough in your personal character to treat imaginary characters and readers fairly, if you have held on to your childhood virtues and have not settled for literary standards much lower than those of the fiction you admire, then the novel you write will eventually be, after the necessary labor of repeated revision, a novel to be proud of, one that almost certainly someone, sooner or later, will be glad to publish.

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2 Responses to “Eschewing Obsfucation”

  1. Mobbed Says:

    I quite like Duncan Lunan’s advice:

    “Finish what you start. Edit what you finish. Sell what you edit.”

    • stevenmale Says:

      Less concise but comforting is the following excessive cut-and-paste job from Stephen Fry’s blog:

      “A writer,” said [Thomas] Mann, “is a person for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.” How liberating that definition is. If any of you out there have ever been put off writing it might well be because you found it so insanely hard and therefore, like me, gave up and abandoned your masterworks early, regretfully assuming that you weren’t cut from the right cloth, that it must come more easily to true, natural-born writers. Perhaps you can start again now, in the knowledge that since the whole experience was so grindingly horrible you might be the real thing after all. Of course finding it difficult and managing to complete are just the first stages. They are what earn you the uniform and the brass buttons, as it were. They don’t guarantee that what you complete is any good, or even readable.


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