Bookmarked! 12th April

  • Never suffer from a bad blook design again – Readability is a button that makes use of a nifty bit of javascript … you drag into your browser bookmark bar, and it transform any page you’re looking at into something readable in just one click. Gone with the ads, bigger fonts in a font of your choice, plus new background to boot. Go check it out.
  • Writing for a living – a joy or a chore? The Guardian online asks a couple of authors what they think of their chosen vocation … “The joy of writing for a living is that you get to do it all the time. The misery is that you have to, whether you’re in the mood or not.” - from A.L. Kennedy, who looks like she’s stoned.
  • Ira Glass on Effective Storytelling
  • Here’s an interview with film critic Glenn Kenny about David Foster Wallace. Yes, I’m including this only because DFW is my current non-fiction idol.
  • How the Web Made Me a Better Copywriter – lots of stuff I never even thought about; look out for the pointer about odd-numbered bulleted lists being more readable than even numbered ones.
  • First, Use Plain English. William Zinsser, the author of On Writing Well, recalls how he taught Yale students to cut through the clutter. Brilliant piece I say.
  • This is the proper way to format a short story manuscript for submission to a publisher. It’s bloody good stuff. Read it.

Last, but not least: see this collection of grown up Calvin and Hobbes. I think the last one was downright depressing.

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Category: Bookmarked!
  • Lee

    Zinister Zinsser would have a picnic with David Foster Wallace.

    (And though I don’t like to be pedantic, A. L. Kennedy is a woman.)

  • Eli James

    o.O My God, didn’t know that, Lee. *scurries off to correct it*

  • JZ

    Though it’s not mentioned in this article, it’s worth mentioning (and within the general topic) that there’s been some questioning lately of a book called “The Elements of Style.”

    It’s regarded as something of a classic on writing in the US, but, a linguist recently brought up a number of problems with it.

    50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

    It’s worth a look.

  • Chris or Lethe

    Zinser wrote a wonderful book, “On Writing Well.” But he’s still living in the shadow of that writing manuals’ success. I recently read an article of his in, oh, I don’t remember, some literary magazine and he’s talking about this book he wrote um-teen years ago. I mean, come on. The Elements of Style is another classic, which greatly influence Zinser’s “On Writing Well”, but it’s dated. The problem with both writing manual classics is that language evolves. The general trend in language has been to move toward a more conversation, that is, spoken writing. Writing manuals are inevitably going to reflect their historical moment. Look how far we’ve come from Shakespeare! r u w/ me?

  • Eli James

    Thanks for the link, Jim. I read a rebuttal to that article some time back, but I wasn’t aware of the context until you pointed that link out to me. As for the critique … well I’m not so sure that it’s merited. I think a lot of things in ‘The Elements Of Style’ is rightfully vague, because it comes with context. But then again I’ve been looking hard for that book in Malaysia’s bookstores for the past 2 years or so, and I’ve yet to read it. Sigh.

    @Chris: I err … don’t know whether to chuckle at that last sentence or not, but I’ll assume you’re poking fun at the whole thing. L33t speak is teh way 2 go! ;-)