22 JUN 2016 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Old, Well-Written Articles

...we overvalue new writing, almost absurdly so, and we undervalue older writing. I feel this market failure keenly each day when I recommend a fine piece of writing that deserves to be read for years to come and yet will have at most two days in the sun. You never hear anybody say, “I’m not going to listen to that record because it was released last year,” or, “I’m not going to watch that film because it came out last month.” Why are we so much less interested in journalism that...
Folksonomies: writing reading pertinence new
Folksonomies: writing reading pertinence new
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If 99% of new content on the Web is worthless, how do we surface the old content for new eyes?

21 MAY 2016 by ideonexus

 Essay Writing is About Figuring Things Out

To understand what a real essay is, we have to reach back into history again, though this time not so far. To Michel de Montaigne, who in 1580 published a book of what he called "essais." He was doing something quite different from what lawyers do, and the difference is embodied in the name. Essayer is the French verb meaning "to try" and an essai is an attempt. An essay is something you write to try to figure something out. Figure out what? You don't know yet. And so you can't begin with a ...
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21 MAY 2016 by ideonexus

 Essays Should Not Need to Argue a Point

The Age of the Essay September 2004 Remember the essays you had to write in high school? Topic sentence, introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, conclusion. The conclusion being, say, that Ahab in Moby Dick was a Christ-like figure. Oy. So I'm going to try to give the other side of the story: what an essay really is, and how you write one. Or at least, how I write one. Mods The most obvious difference between real essays and the things one has to write in school is that real ess...
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31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Writing Homogenizes Us

We do not, we writers, represent mankind adequately. We do not think well of ourselves. We do not think amply about what we are. Essay after essay, book after book, maintain the usual thing about mass society, dehumanization, and the rest. How weary we are of them. How poorly they represent us. The pictures they offer no more resemble us than we resemble the reconstructed reptiles and other monsters in a museum of paleontology. We are much more limber, versatile, better articulated; there is ...
Folksonomies: writing representation
Folksonomies: writing representation
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23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Write With Style

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. These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bri...
Folksonomies: writing style
Folksonomies: writing style
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26 APR 2015 by ideonexus

 Sign-Function Linking

It is clear that if the phonic substance lost its privilege, it was not to the advantage of the graphic substance, which lends itself to the same substitutions. To the extent that it liberates and is irrefutable, glossematics still operates with a popular concept of writing. However original and irreducible it might be, the “form of expression” linked by correlation to the graphic “substance of expression” remains very determined. It is very dependent and very derivative with regard t...
Folksonomies: writing post modernism
Folksonomies: writing post modernism
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21 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 World-Building Questions

1. BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE There can be no human (or alien) civilization or settlement without plumbing, energy supply, or waste disposal. So you need to spend at least a little bit figuring out how all of this worksunderneath your story’s setting. How do your characters eat? How do they transport and store food? How is waste handled? Where does the water come from? Who provides the clothes and shoes (or gear)? What money system is there? Is there a single currency? Several? Electronic mo...
Folksonomies: writing science fiction
Folksonomies: writing science fiction
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11 SEP 2014 by TGAW

 Tom Hanks on Typewriters

What I really, truly miss is the physical trail that typing usually gives you. Typing on an actual typewriter on paper is only a softer version of chiseling words into stone.
Folksonomies: writing tomhanks typewriter
Folksonomies: writing tomhanks typewriter
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Tom Hanks recently created an app that mimics typing on a typewriter. While talking about his app, one thought stuck out to me.

23 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 Chinese Books Lack an Index

Yet even if some technological fix were to be devised to solve the problem of character entry, the non-alphabetic nature of the writing system still results in other serious and long-standing “invisible” problems. For example, the inclusion of a standard index to books, manuals and reference materials is made orders of magnitude more difficult by the Chinese writing system. The result is that to this day, the vast majority of non-fiction books published in China do not have an index, or a...
Folksonomies: writing chinese sinology
Folksonomies: writing chinese sinology
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19 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 The Decline in Reading is Because of Limited Time

With e-books becoming more dominant and less money coming into the industry, the bookstores die (they're already highly marginal now). With bookstores' death, so go the publishers (after all, any established author will make more money from self-publishing and now the *one* (incredibly important) thing the publishers offer - shelf space - is gone). With publishers gone, we all essentially become slush pile readers. The books are nearly free, but the constraint is *time*, not money, and with ...
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Not money, time is a limited resource.