On Writing, Again

Susan Scharfman
 


Visitors: 259

Have you ever found yourself reading or writing a word followed by a word that has the same meaning? Close proximity comes to mind. Don’t beat yourself up. Some best selling authors and the venerable New York Times are guilty of the same redundant evil. It just happens to drive me crazy.

I’m always interested in the origin of words and phrases so I asked Jeeves about it; he shrugged and sent me to Google which sent me to www.closeproximity.net/index1.htm. Trust me, that website is the only place where you are going to see those two words in suitable proximity to one another. If you go there now, you must promise to return to finish reading my article.

The Angle of the dangle is another slippery slope. I discovered early on that dangling phrases are death to bleary-eyed proofreaders. When the descriptive phrase with which you begin a sentence does not modify or describe the rest of the sentence you are in writer’s hell and the editor’s slush pile. For example, “A short distance from Paris, I return often. ” What or who is a short distance from Paris? “Since I live a short distance from Paris, I return often. ” Oh.

I’m reminded of my first article “On Writing, " vis-à-vis gross meister (my word) Stephen King. What King writes sometimes can be revolting. How he writes harkens to my own penchant for clarity of expression. He never uses a euphemism in place of a direct expression. For example, “abuser of controlled substances” vs. “drug addict. ” Which is more dynamic? Conversely, business and government use language that is more politically correct. A liar is someone who suffers from FDS (fabricated disorder syndrome). Ugh! The writer’s own sensibilities decide when and where to cross this fuzzy line. Journalism, however, has its own set of ideals.

For example, The Washington Post’s Desk Book On Style says, “Profanities and obscenities should not be used in a story unless something significant would otherwise be lost. ” In other words, the journalist should ask, “why use it?” rather than “why not use it?” Judging from the profanities emanating from the halls of Congress and other hallowed institutions, the handbook should probably be updated. The doublespeak debate goes on.

Meanwhile, my final word on words for the text-challenged. Symbols and truncated words are my nemeses. Can you believe that six exasperating symbols are required to create a bullet? Would you rather read Shakespeare like this: “2b? Nt2b? ???” Or like this: “To be or not to be, that is the question?” Or maybe you would rather not read him at all. Never mind. If you were visiting in the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein, the eccentric American author and mentor to Ernest Hemingway during the golden age of American writers in Paris, her answer would be: “There ain't no answer. There ain't gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer. "

I think the innovative Gertrude would probably love html. Check out some of the witticisms she’s famous for like, “a rose is a rose is a rose. ” I’m unrenowned for, “a book is a book is a book. ”

Susan Scharfman is a writer/editor at http://www.susanscharfman.com

(605)

Article Source:


 
Rate this Article: 
 
Article Writing: 3 Ways to Increase the Know-Like-Trust Factor in Your Readers ..
Rated 4 / 5
based on 5 votes
ArticleSlash

Related Articles:

Article Writing: Writing Your Book the Easy Way by Writing Lots of Articles

by: Jeff Herring (October 19, 2006) 
(Writing and Speaking)

Article Writing - Use Your Article Writing and Marketing Skills When Writing ..

by: Lessie Harvey (August 29, 2007) 
(Writing and Speaking/Writing Articles)

Article Writing Made Easy - 2 Vital Article Writing Tips to Boost Your Article ..

by: Fabian Tan (October 07, 2008) 
(Writing and Speaking/Writing Articles)

Article Writing and Marketing - How to Use Article Writing As the Basis of All ..

by: Connie Ragen Green (September 05, 2008) 
(Writing and Speaking/Writing Articles)

Article Writing Secrets - 2 Surefire Tips For Writing Red-Hot Articles

by: Fabian Tan (October 20, 2008) 
(Writing and Speaking/Writing Articles)

Make Money With Your Online Writing - 7 Tips To Monetize The Ebook Writing ..

by: Connie Ragen Green (March 05, 2008) 
(Internet and Businesses Online/E Books)

Article Writing - How Do I Get Started Fast with Writing Articles - Are There ..

by: Jeff Herring (June 15, 2007) 
(Writing and Speaking/Writing Articles)

SEO Copy Writing - 8 Ways Article Writing is Effective For Both Writer and ..

by: J B Cole (October 20, 2008) 
(Writing and Speaking/Article Marketing)

Writing Business Email, Letters, and Brochures: A Quick Guide To Good Writing

by: Allen Brodsky (November 14, 2005) 
(Writing and Speaking/Writing)

Article Writing: 3 Ways to Increase the Know-Like-Trust Factor in Your Readers ..

by: Jeff Herring (March 20, 2007) 
(Writing and Speaking)