As I said in my previous post, I have launched into self-assigned curriculum of reading books on writing, beginning with Strunk & White’s classic work, The Elements of Style. The venture is already paying dividends.
I’m about 25 pages in, 25 pages packed with fairly compact instruction on usage, so far, with more coming on composition and style. I have found already, though, something I want to share from my reading and briefly commend to all.
This is a quote from the beginning of the section on “Elementary Principles of Composition.” What follows is the principle, the quote, and my thoughts upon it.
Principle: Choose a suitable design and hold to it.
“The first principle of composition, therefore, is to foresee or determine the shape of what is to come and pursue that shape” (15).
“The more clearly the writer perceives the shape, the better are the chances of success” (15).
My two cents: Structure matters. A lot. I know some view writing as a “create as you go” enterprise, but I think really good stories rarely emerge that way. I don’t mean you can’t sell lots of books and be a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of writer, I mean that carefully crafted works of art are usually just that – carefully crafted. And craft includes thinking about it carefully before you even begin.
A thought for the writers out there, for what it is worth.