5 Things: On Writing

This week's 5 Things take the next R in the three R's to give five resources on writing.  There are a lot resources on writing out there and it seems that there are as many theories on writing as there are writers.  Like many things, you become a good writer by writing, or as they say in the sticks, "ya get good at writin' by writin' a whole bunch!"  Nevertheless, a few good resources can be very helpful.  Of course, when it comes to writing there are many types of writing and yet general rules still apply and you can learn from many types of writers so cast your net wide and get tips from essayists, historians, novelists, poets, and others. 1. Last week I recommended a piece on reading by Doug Wilson and this week I want to recommend some more by Mr. Mablog.  Did I say last week that I enjoy his blog?  Let me say it again: Wilson is many things but never boring.  That is a great virtue in a writer.  It hardly matters what he's writing about, he's having fun and you can tell.  Often times I think, "I can't believe he just said that?"  He is no prisoner of the thought police and He genuinely enjoys himself.  Wow, what a thought!  Deep thinking expressed in joyful and provocative writing.  Wilson gives you permission to have a good time when you write, be all visual, and just go metaphorical.  Anywhoo, here is his stuff:

Seven Basic and Brief Pointers for Writers - The first article in a series which he expanded into the following articles.

A Russian Doll of Writing Tips - Wilson presents a basic attitude towards writing, one without pretensions and hubris.

Read Until Your Brain Creaks - This one I gave you last week, but here it is in the series.

Word Fussers and Whowhomers - On really learning the language.

Born for the Clerihew - On stretching before you run, and exercising with variety.

The Memoirs of Old Walnut Heart - Practice, practice, practice.

Ancient Roman Toddlers - On the value of learning other languages.

Uncommon Commonplaces - On the scavenging of other writers.

A Three Pound Fruitcake - After a great deal of advice, Wilson here turns to some apt warnings for the writer.

Marauders of Literary Fashion - And the cautions continue.


2. And here is a series on writing by the son of Doug Wilson, N.D. Wilson, aimed primarily at those desiring to write fiction.

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 1 (Don’ts)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 2 (For the Critics, These Pearls . . .)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 3 (Prose for Body and Brain)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 4 (An Exercise)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 5 (Found Dialog)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 6 (The Obstacle Course)

3. Thomas Sowell, a great writer on economics , politics, and contemporary social issues, has put his thoughts on the discipline of writing together here: Some Thoughts About Writing.  He is honest and frank about the joys and pains of trying to get published.

4. It was only after reading his obituary that I learned of Denis Dutton, the founder of the very interesting website Arts & Letters Daily, and consequently did some digging around and found a few interesting and useful things he had put together.  For several years running he led a yearly contest on bad academic writing in an effort to fight the obfuscation of academic prose.  In other words, he was campaigning against dense, difficult, and ridiculously confounding writing in academic publications.  He proved his point every year.  This may or may not help you, but if you ever have to write or wish to write anything of an expository, explanatory, or persuasive nature, I think this will be a cautionary exercise for you (and me).  Here it is: The Bad Writing Contest.

5. Here is a list of resources from a seminar at Southern Seminary: On Writing and Publishing.

Today's extra resource, for those deeply interested, is this essay by the great writer of politic parables, George Orwell on Politics and the English Language.

UPDATED: Extra, extra, I should have included this but I had forgot about it till digging through my files a bit: Fifty Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark.

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