writing and speaking…

Work on good prose has three steps, a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.

-Walter Benjamin

I am always looking to be a better writer and speaker, and some would say I need to work on it more than I do. In keeping with White, here’s Vonnegut’s ‘How to Write With Style‘ and Sociologist Jim Jasper’s ‘Learning How to Write Better.’ ‘Style’ is such an interesting issue… When I worked with Jim we would sit around in a circle and play his ‘Word Elimination Game,’ a game I have been playing on my manuscript this summer. Same with the ‘Reverse Outline.’ More advice:

There is the obsessive use of logical connectors, like “however,” or “thus.” If the relationship between two successive sentences isn’t clear without these, from their internal substance, you’re already in trouble. (I could have said, “then you’re already in trouble,” or “thus you’re already in trouble.”) There are also phrases that mean nothing at all, like “In this regard”…

Guilty as charged.

Here is Jim’s ‘Giving Better Talks‘ too. He obliquely mentions the use of Memory Palaces, or ‘Method of Loci,’ which I’ve tried to teach a bit in class but rarely use…

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1 Response to “writing and speaking…”


  1. 1 kristina b July 31, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Hey thanks for the resources!


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