Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

Contemporary writing (in general): Your opinions please

page: 1
2

log in

join

posted on Nov, 29 2009 @ 09:25 AM
link   
There is an old saying about opinions and exhaust pipes; everyone has one. But I am in need of some and this seemed like the best place to start in getting some worthy input.

The issue is writing. More specifically, let’s call it the ‘contemporary form of the written word’ as found in your local newspaper or standard-rate online news site. To wit: Do paragraphs necessarily need to be reduced to a single sentence to be of any use to today’s readers?

Please allow me to explain. I contribute (under another name) to a website called Bleacher Report on sports related subjects. In my brief tenure there, I have received some awards and to date, have had no real complaints that didn’t take the form of simple differences of opinion on sports related subject matter.

A little personal history will suit here as well because after I retired from metal fab & design, I took up writing as a hobby. For a time, I had a twice-weekly color-of-life column in small, twice-weekly local newspaper. I gained a loyal readership and remained with the rag until it was bought out by a larger local publication for the sole purpose of demolition.

So here I am now, banging out the occasional article for Bleacher Report, only to have someone come by and totally rearrange my piece as if it were their own. The worst of it, what is euphemistically referred to as ‘editing’ here, involves the restructuring of the paragraphs into single sentences. In fact, every paragraph that contains more than one sentence is summarily divorced into single lines of text.

Hey, imagine that you just finished making a peanut butter and jelly sammich, okay? Well, here comes your neighbor now to show you how he does it and leaves you with liverwurst and cheese on raisin toast.

Anyway, just a question to wrap this up:

-> Are you apt to only read articles that contain single sentence paragraphs?

Thanks for your time and input. It is greatly appreciated.


[edit on 29-11-2009 by redoubt]




posted on Nov, 29 2009 @ 10:40 AM
link   

Originally posted by redoubt
Anyway, just a question to wrap this up:

-> Are you apt to only read articles that contain single sentence paragraphs?



Excellent topic, redoubt.

I'm responding from my own experience, both as an avid reader and occasional writer. I blame it all on television.


For half a century and two generations now, we have been bombarded by short film clips and sound bites. The act of reading books has also recently taken a back seat to internet 'browsing'. Because of that, the attention span of the average reader has been curtailed dramatically. If you want people to read what you have to say, it's best done in short staccato bursts like a soldier making good use of a machine gun. Succint statements encapsulated by surrounding white space has the best effect these days.

Unfortunate. We've lost patience with long paragraphs and prefer scrolling sentences below talking heads on the news channel.



posted on Nov, 29 2009 @ 11:17 AM
link   
reply to post by masqua
 




For half a century and two generations now, we have been bombarded by short film clips and sound bites. The act of reading books has also recently taken a back seat to internet 'browsing'. Because of that, the attention span of the average reader has been curtailed dramatically. If you want people to read what you have to say, it's best done in short staccato bursts like a soldier making good use of a machine gun. Succint statements encapsulated by surrounding white space has the best effect these days.


Indeed, so it would seem. TV and the internet have changed us quite a lot. I wonder whether in some future this will all be looked back upon as a good thing... or bad.

Thanks for the input



posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 07:36 AM
link   

Originally posted by redoubt
Indeed, so it would seem. TV and the internet have changed us quite a lot. I wonder whether in some future this will all be looked back upon as a good thing... or bad.

Thanks for the input



General use language is changing as we embrace mobile phones and messaging, how many times do you get a message longer than the screen display? how many great books have become movies only to miss the sections that made it a great read in the first place?

How many parents still read to their children?



posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 07:48 AM
link   
reply to post by prof-rabbit
 


Actually, my incoming text messages wrap and scroll. Have never gotten one that was cut short... my daughter is a prolific texter, lol.

But yes, you're right... how many parents read to their kids or just farm them out to a CD?

Thanks



posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 08:22 AM
link   
As long as I live, I will prefer a book to a computer when it comes to reading. There are bookshelves filled with them and they are mostly either the large paperback or hardcover kind. Pocketbooks... not so much, since I'd rather not read fiction. The exceptions are Science Fiction/Fantasy that I couldn't part with and now sit dog-eared and browning slowly after decades.

I love a book... the feel, the convenience, even the smell.

The printed word on paper is magical. Each letter is a variation on a symbol going back into prehistoric times. On a computer, they are held onto the page with the mysticism of electricity. You'd think I like mysticism, and I do, but somehow I can't trust it for permanence.

Books die by fire, online texting dies by blackouts or low batteries.

Perhaps the internet is also the saviour of writing and reading. I mean, that's what we're doing here, isn't it? Especially in this forum. We type stories, work together on projects, read and interact much the same way as the most respected authors of the past. There's still hope. Spelling and punctuation are still important.

You know what really excites me here? It's when someone in a country far away, which has as its first language something completely foreign to me, tries to write a post. I feel a sense of kinship. Their stumbling attempt to communicate works and I understand what is being said. Now that is magical.

Could it be that the internet has a potential far beyond saving reading and writing skills? Maybe, just maybe, it can pull the world together.



[edit on 30/11/09 by masqua]



posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 08:49 AM
link   

Originally posted by masqua
The exceptions are Science Fiction/Fantasy that I couldn't part with and now sit dog-eared and browning slowly after decades.


But favorites are like that, I still have some I read as a teenager.


Originally posted by masqua
Perhaps the internet is also the saviour of writing and reading. I mean, that's what we're doing here, isn't it? Especially in this forum. We type stories, work together on projects, read and interact much the same way as the most respected authors of the past. There's still hope. Spelling and punctuation are still important.


Less so than in the past but it seems it will never die out.


Originally posted by masqua
Could it be that the internet has a potential far beyond saving reading and writing skills? Maybe, just maybe, it can pull the world together.

[edit on 30/11/09 by masqua]


As long as writers can capture the imagination of the young there will always be readers.



posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 08:59 AM
link   

Originally posted by prof-rabbit
But favorites are like that, I still have some I read as a teenager.


Oh, yes.

I still have the entire Conan the Barbarian series in pocketbooks. I read them under the covers with a flashlight, being very careful not to get caught by my parents.



Sweet memories...



posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 09:29 AM
link   

Originally posted by masqua

Originally posted by prof-rabbit
But favorites are like that, I still have some I read as a teenager.


Oh, yes.

I still have the entire Conan the Barbarian series in pocketbooks. I read them under the covers with a flashlight, being very careful not to get caught by my parents.



Sweet memories...


I read Lord of the Rings over a weekend only stopping to eat and pee, I just could not put it down. E.E. Smith's Lensman series, The Crystal singers, the complete Pern series, so many good books, so many good authors!



posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 10:29 AM
link   

Originally posted by masqua
I'm responding from my own experience, both as an avid reader and occasional writer. I blame it all on television.


For half a century and two generations now, we have been bombarded by short film clips and sound bites.


The root of it is our desire. The desire to make profit. The desire to be entertained. Looking at it that way, television and cinema are merely modern, technological manifestations of those desires. I blame people. I blame society. Ultimately, we are to blame for our inventions and our use of them, not our inventions.


The act of reading books has also recently taken a back seat to internet 'browsing'. Because of that, the attention span of the average reader has been curtailed dramatically.


Heh. What if you're reading a book online? I prefer to have a physical copy, but preference aside what is the difference between reading online and reading a physical copy?

Concentration or attention span decline, in my opinion, could be better explained (but only in part, due to my time constraints) by a festering cumulation of mess resulting from a heavy (and for some people constant) bombardment of signals and data from all media, everywhere (including books). This leads to a bubbling storm of needless association in the thought processes. How can you be attentive or concentrate properly when you can't think about something without simultaneously thinking about something else? I'll spare you the well known Buddhist analogy about the cup. But as to why it's gotten so bad now, as opposed to our past, it's probably because we've never before been able to project or receive this data or these signals on the scale that we are able today. No doubt many technological advancements will be made like this, but what's happening to our brains?

Now, then...


Originally posted by redoubt
Anyway, just a question to wrap this up:

-> Are you apt to only read articles that contain single sentence paragraphs?


No and don't let anyone tell you that that's how you have to do it unless you really, really need the money. Write how you want to write and accept very little compromise.



posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 11:40 PM
link   

Originally posted by Cadbury

Heh. What if you're reading a book online? I prefer to have a physical copy, but preference aside what is the difference between reading online and reading a physical copy?


Funny, while I have "real books" I have an entire library of e-books (thousands) as well as many hundreds of audio books, my wife is totally blind and relies on "audio described movies" as well as "audio books" in fact my wife is reading the last two Harry Potter books as read by Steven Fry again.

So while I have much space taken up with paper I have a virtual library on a couple of DVD's then there is the Gutenberg Library
gutenberg.net.au... that includes:
AUSTRALIA free ebooks
SPECIAL INTEREST free ebooks
and so on.
add in:
etext.lib.virginia.edu...
and this list:
www.e-book.com.au...

As well as an Library of Arcana that I manage.



posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 10:39 AM
link   
James Gleick wrote a fantastic book that relates to your topic: "Faster: The Acceleration Of Just About Everything". This book really opened my eyes about what we value in our lives, and our growing inability to focus on things.

In this book, Gleick points out that the average scene for TV and movies lasts -- how long do you think? Only -- three seconds. Yeah. Check it out. It is true. Most people seem to lose interest if they need look at the same camera angle for more than three short seconds.

I guess the exact same thing is true for writing. We collectively want to read one sentence before a paragraph break.

I think the success of Twitter underscores this also: We only need 200 characters to complete any of our individual thoughts. Go figure.

Here is James Gleick's blog. He is more famous for his book "Chaos", but I think "Faster" is a much more illuminating work. Plus it is a very easy read, even though his paragraphs are a bit longer than average


www.around.com...

Also:

en.wikipedia.org...

[edit on 19-12-2009 by Axial Leader]





new topics

top topics



 
2

log in

join