Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pity Your Readers: Learn How to Write With Style

"How to Write With Style"
by Kurt Vonnegut
San Diego State University

"Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style...."

I think only three sorts of people should read this article: those who
  • Want to write
  • Write
  • Read what others have written, and want to understand their perceptions of the writing
Vonnegut wraps up his article with a simple list.

"In Sum:
  1. Find a subject you care about
  2. Do not ramble, though
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Have guts to cut
  5. Sound like yourself
  6. Say what you mean
  7. Pity the readers"
This is the second time I've posted about Kurt Vonnegut ("Kurt Vonnegut: 8 Bits of Advice " (April 9, 2008)).

More about Mr. Vonnegut at He died a year ago, last April. I was sorry to see him go. Other considerations aside, he was one of the all-too-rare good writers who can tell others how writing should be done: and make sense in the telling.

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