The Art of Writing: Expert Advice on Writing & Language

art of writing

Earlier a writer was defined as someone who had studied literature and was familiar with all the old classics. Today with the digital age, writing is more of an art that requires critical thinking and reading and that demands patience and careful revision. It is the art of writing, coupled with the passion to tell a story.

I can shake off everything as I write. My sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.

Anne Frank

The Art of Writing from Experts

It is always important to learn the art from the experts

David Foster Wallace

Really good writing [is] able to get across massive amounts of information and various favorable impressions of the communicator with minimal effort on the part of the reader.”

In the year 1999, Wallace after writing a long profile of the writer and dictionary-maker Bryan A. Garner, started a series of conversations about the art of writing and language, which was later published as Quack This Way: David Foster Wallace & Bryan A. Garner Talk Language and Writing.

Quack This Way by Bryan Garner (2013, Trade Paperback) for sale online |  eBay

The book is a masterpiece that records the writer’s relationship with language, himself, and the source of his ideas on self-improvement, writing, and how we become who we are.

Wallace in this book describes the importance of a Dictionary. He says that to understand the usage of a dictionary a writer must pay a high level of attention to his/her writing, which is extremely rare.

A usage dictionary is like a linguistic hard drive.

He talks about the big trio: A dictionary, a usage dictionary, and a Thesaurus, without which is unable to write that perfect masterpiece. As a teacher, Wallace also advises his students to understand the importance of a dictionary before they start reading or writing.

Focussing on the importance of a dictionary Wallace says with the appeal of trivia, a dictionary is a great bathroom book, where every entry is brief and in just 48 hours one can actually learn a lot.

Wallace also discusses the structure of writing:

a. The Opened: It si important to have an interesting opener, as that always catches the attention of the reader. One should lay down the arguments and also imply the stakes.

If one did it deftly, one could in a one-paragraph opening grab the reader, state the terms of the argument, and state the motivation for the argument. I imagine most good argumentative stuff that I’ve read, you could boil that down to the opener.

b. Middle: The middle is the trickiest part of any writing. It lays down the arguments in a way that the reader understands each step clearly and can connect them together to form the story. In this case, the importance of transitions comes into the picture, where one must understand the usage of however and moreover in a sentence.

Part of their belief that the reader can somehow read their mind is their failure to see that the reader needs help understanding how two sentences are connected to each other — and also transitions between paragraphs.

It is important for the writer to understand the importance of the first draft, where the important arguments are laid down, and real writing is when each argument is weaved together to form a beautiful story. It is important to convey to the reader the underlying meaning of the story instead of just surfacing on the arguments.

What is a good writer?

Reading is a strange thing, which has been a part of our life since we were kids. While it requires one to pay attention to each sentence, the rest is left to interpretation. While reading we process information at an incredible rate, and so one of the main points to remember while writing is how little effort it requires for the reader to track what’s going on.

I am not an absolute believer in standard punctuation at all times, but one thing that’s often a big shock to my students is that punctuation isn’t merely a matter of pacing or how you would read something out loud. These marks are, in fact, cues to the reader for how very quickly to organize the various phrases and clauses of the sentence so the sentence as a whole makes sense.

A superb piece of writing should be able to get across a large amount of information and communicators’ impression, with minimal effort from the reader. Effortless writing is not one in which the writer spent minimum time, but one in which the reader can easily understand the writer’s opinion.

Conclusion

Every art is special, and it is important to understand that no one is born an artist, it is the hard work, sincerity, and passion for the art that helps create a masterpiece. Some examples are:

When Toni Morrison was forty she published her first book The Bluest Eye in 1970. She eventually won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her incredible book Beloved. 

A Pulitzer prize winner, McCourt won the award for his book Angela’s Ashes published in 1996, when he was 66.

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