Writing

Advice on Writing etc.,

George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”

Elmore Leonard’s rules for writers

BLUF: The Military Standard That Can Make Your Writing More Powerful - Animalz

Prof. Finkel on Writing (he is the author of the influential “Advanced Programming Language Design” textbook)

Olin Shiver’s Dissertation Advice made a distinct impact on me. Explains the distinction between a thesis and a dissertation with good examples. I ordered “Handbook for Scholars” based on his recommendation.

Advice for amateur mathematicians – some good practial advice here; best one – “Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue.”

Steven Pinker’s Guide to Classic Style

It was originally presented by two literary theorists — Francis-Noel Thomas and Mark Turner — in a book called Clear and Simple as the Truth. The essence of classic style is that writing should be viewed as a conversation between the writer and the reader, in which the writer explains some object of joint attention to the reader.

“The guiding metaphor of classic style is seeing the world. The writer can see something that the reader has not yet noticed, and he orients the reader’s gaze so that she can see it for herself. The purpose of writing is presentation, and its motive is disinterested truth. It succeeds when it aligns with the truth, the proof of success being clarity and simplicity.”

Eight basic principles:

  1. Eliminate Metadiscourse
  2. Don’t confuse the subject matter of the communication with your line of work
  3. Minimise Compulsive Hedging
  4. Avoid cliches like the plague
  5. By all means discuss abstract ideas, but avoid unnecessary abstract nouns
  6. Remember: Nominalization is a dangerous weapon
  7. Adopt an active, conversational style
  8. But it’s okay to use the passive voice (sometimes)