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Quick Write 121111 “The Elements of Style”

The Elements of Style (4th ed.) by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White is my current sleep-inducing read in bed. I got to know about this handy yet full of useful tips by a blog called “quipped” whose author writes about English learning based on his experiences in English as a Second Language setting. I learned from one of its blog posts that the book is regarded as a must-read for college freshmen or aspiring writers. Despite its compactness with less than 100 pages, the book seems to contain very essence of English writing that I need to read as attentively as possible. The last chapter, “An Approach to Style” looked so fascinating to me that I couldn’t resist jumping onto a few pages before finishing earlier chapters. I’m full aware that it’s overambitious for me to talk about my own “style” at this moment or whenever, so let me just quote the parts that grabbed my heart.

"Style is an increment in writing. When we speak of Fitzgerald’s style, we don’t mean his command of the relative pronoun, we mean the sound his words make on paper. All writers, by the way they use the language, reveal something of their spirits, their habits, their capacities, and their biases. This is inevitable as well as enjoyable. All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation – it is the Self escaping into the open. No writer long remains 1 incognito." (p. 66-67)

"Writing is, for most, laborious and slow. The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a 2gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes 3roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up. Like other gunners, the writer must cultivate patience, working many covers to bring down one 4partridge." (p.69)

1. incognito: having one’s true identity concealed 2. gunner: a person who hunts game with a gun 3. roam: travel unsystematically 4.partridge: a short-tailed game bird

(25 minutes / 346 words)

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Aya

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