Monday, September 30, 2013

Should We Write What We Know?

Sorry it took me so long to post this. 

In class I discussed the article I found titled "Should We Write What We Know?” Which you can find here :

I forgot to mention that this is actually one piece of an entire series in the NY times opinion pages called “draft”. Draft is a “series of articles about the art and craft of writing”. It “features essays by grammarians, historians, linguists, journalists, novelists and others on the art of writing — from the comma to the tweet to the novel — and why a well-crafted sentence matters more than ever in the digital age.
Here is the link to the whole series: 

Hope you enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I read the article, and I found it interesting. The last paragraph where it talks about how people can acquire knowledge through research interested me because it got me to thinking that earlier in the article--where it says that a person who writes what he or she knows tends to do a better job--isn't exactly correct. It said, "If Joe is a mediocre writer who knows his stuff to the very depths of his soul (let’s say his topic is video games), and Jane is an accomplished writer who is to a certain extent at sea (she’s writing about the validity of global warming), Joe’s essay is going to be better every time: airtight, direct, precise and more often than not leavened by wit." First of all, if Joe is a mediocre writer, then he might not even explain his understanding of video games very well because of his lack of skill with writing. If Jane is an accomplished writer, I'm guessing she has written many essays and could pull off a decent essay without intimate knowledge of the subject. Maybe not every time, but certainly most of the time. Also, if she's an accomplished writer, then she should know to research. Every writer should know to research. It is part of writing. Also this article went on to say, "Jane’s [essay] will hem and haw and qualify and fudge, use passive voice and abstract nouns; it will circle around the subject to try to cover up all the gaps in her knowledge, and in so doing will just make the reader weary and cross." If she's an accomplished writer, then she will know not to do that! I'm not saying the article doesn't have a point, but rather that it uses a poor example.

    I do appreciate the article for pointing out that it would be ridiculous for people to write only what they know. That would certainly limit a lot of writers. I think research is an important and necessary tool for writers to really write what they know. Of course, you don't need to incorporate all of your research into your writing because that would be ridiculous. But you do need at least a basic understanding of something to write about it. A basic understanding is necessary for consistency and so that your audience will believe you.

    Thanks for posting the article, Melissa!


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