Sunday, August 22, 2010

On Writing . . .

This morning's email contained a suggestion from tink, (Mike Barker) who is the list owner, the head honcho, the venerated and much revered techno-guru of my Writers group. Mike pointed us to the SF Novelists blog and a specific article The Skill List Project by James Alan Gardner.

I read the article and found some things with which I agree and some things with which I disagree. That happens quite often.

Here is one of the questions Mr. Gardner ask: What’s the most important skill for a writer to have or develop?

The most important skill? In my opinion, all writing-related skills are equally important and are best developed, not by reading about how to write but by the basic act of actual day-in and day-out writing, always being aware of and paying strict attention to applying all the skills a writer has acquired from a lifetime of writing.

. . .

I just finished reading How the internet is changing language a BBC article regarding internet-inspired terminology and recently coined words that are unknown to those who are not at all internet savvy. The article is subtitled: 'To Google' has become a universally understood verb and many countries are developing their own internet slang. But is the web changing language and is everyone up to speed?

It's an interesting piece and it's short. So you might want to read it.

Or you might not.

. . .

The Oxford Dictionary of English has added more than 2,000 words to its latest version. Among them are cheeseball, which refers to someone or something lacking taste, style or originality -- and a new word from the Japanese: hikikomori -- which roughly means acute social withdrawal.

Wikipedia states: The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare defines hikikomori as people who refuse to leave their house, and isolate themselves from society in their homes for a period exceeding six months. While the degree of the phenomenon varies on an individual basis, in the most extreme cases, some people remain in isolation for years or even decades.

I'll probably never use either of those word. But then again, I just might.

. . .

While reading a short piece about . . .

Annie Proulx
(author of Brokeback Mountain)

I noticed my eyes squinting and my nose curling up in distaste and bewilderment when I read:

She firmly disagrees with the advice "write what you know." She says it produces "tiresome middle-class novels of people who I think are writing about things they know, but you wish to God they didn't. My thing is, learn what you want to write about. Find out about it."

She said, "I believe if you get the landscape right, the characters will step out of it, and they'll be in the right place. The story will come from the landscape."

What? The 'landscape"?

Now that is something I do not understand. Not at all. And I have tried to understand it. But so far have been unable to do so. I am not disagreeing with this published author; I am merely expressing a sense of personal perplexity.



I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
--Elmore Leonard

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