Principles for Writing
Here are the six rules (and their origin) I try to follow when writing:
- Avoid the verb ‘to be’ and all its forms (is, am …). – Grade 10 English Teacher, Mr. Shannon
- Write something once, then cross out the unnecessary words. – Yves Faguy
- Avoid the use of “I” because it is stylistically poor and it bad for the ego. – Good to Great
- Use positive language (i.e. avoid no, can’t, won’t) because people prefer positive thinking. – Neuro-Linguistic Programming
- Use sub-titles, chapter headings, etc. – Yves Faguy
- Open and close paragraphs with short, positive statements.
- Provide much more context than you think you need. People always underestimate how much context is in their own heads and communicating that context to the readers is critical to get your point across.
- Alternate long and short sentences, use language in the same way you use notes in music.
Great book on the topic: Writing without Bullshit (for business writers)
This piece by Paul Graham outlines where essays came from and what they are really for: exploring an idea, not making an argument.Essay here.
Movies, Books, and Drama
While the west was already “developed” in the 1950s, we have become significantly more developed since then. Our society has more precise rules, more information, more security, more wealth, and more peace – all of which are reflections of the degree of development. We need more to be shocked – if at all possible – more to be pleased, and more to be happy.
On a note of some relevance, I am currently rereading The Lord of the Rings (for the third time). What comes to mind in comparison with the film adaptation is two things, the timeline and the dramatics. While the journey and time is dragged out over years and decades in the book, the movie does not make much effort to show that is less than a year or so. Also, actions are made more dramatic and sensational in the movie. These two trends are both common in film adaptations, but it leads me to the question of whether our society has been saturated with tales and stories. To get our attention, an event must truly be dramatic.
The one scene that quickly comes to mind is where Frodo accidentally puts the ring on while at the Prancing Pony. In the book he is dancing on a table, slips and the ring slides onto his finger because he was fingering it in his pocket. In the film, the ring goes flying through the air and slides onto his outstretched arm as he tumbles to the ground. While the difference is not enormous, it reflects the larger trend of making an event far more dramatic in film than in a descriptive book.Published on February 19, 2008