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01 February 2010

I feel like I can't put sentences together anymore [More:]
Like I can't stitch the fragments together smoothly enough. Anyone want to take a look and let me know what I'm missing (or if they're mostly okay and I'm being too anxious?) Major self linkery ahead: 1st para, 1st para, 1st+2nd para.

What are some ways one can increase their composition skills without joining a class or otherwise being forced to write things they don't want to? Some ideas:

* Read more
* Learn the technicalities of grammar
Have you read The Elements of Style?
posted by amro 01 February | 12:28
Not yet!
posted by Firas 01 February | 12:30
Nothing wrong with any of your text that I can point to, except perhaps a certain abruptness -- probably from my coming into the conversation in the middle as it were.
posted by dhartung 01 February | 12:36
Like amro says, read books about writing and grammar and language and suchlike. Read and write a lot.
posted by box 01 February | 21:10
And while I certainly might've missed some obscure error or something, I also think you're too anxious.
posted by box 01 February | 21:14
One good thing is to go back and read aloud, slowly, what you've written.

It's tough because ideally you want to read it from the perspective of someone who doesn't already know what you're trying to say. So you want to make things clear to them. Also sometimes this internal reader should maybe be a little hostile; he wants to take things the wrong way, to miss points, etc. But he doesn't want to be bored either, so you shouldn't overexplain and be boring. Man, that internal reader is a fucking asshole.

Anyway, from those links there are some small things here and there, but I'm not seeing the linking thoughts together being a problem.

Though, I don't think I even understand this sentence: "Then daft Pac and Eminem songs started dropping and I realized the importance of quality control in maintaining that illusion." I'm old, so I wonder if daft songs dropping is good, and the quality control thing sounds interesting but complex. You say it's an illusion, so maybe you're saying you were actually cherry-picking the good songs and ignoring the bad ones? That's what I'm deducing from the literal words, but I don't think I got it right.

I took an editing job recently, and quickly discovered that I was pretty sloppy with how I used my commas. So recently I've been really focussing on them. I think it's improving my writing so, I guess I recommend it.

Also someone once gave me some great advice on writing clearly (especially for business) that I like to share for no reason:
1) Tell them you're about to tell them something.
2) Tell them the thing you want to tell them.
3) Tell them you just told them the thing you wanted to tell them.

That helped me write serious businessy stuff, especially to people with widely varying English. For less formal places I tend to just dump out random stuff and trail off with no overall point.
posted by fleacircus 02 February | 00:41
Thanks folks! Yeah dharthung that's what I was thinking, the abruptness; that I kinda cheat with semicolons, dashes and so on.

fleacircus I meant that when I was impressed by them they recorded a lot of songs that they didn't release, which made me think better of their ability to impress with any song whatsoever. Then it turns out they can be really tiresome when they don't have that filter?

Yeah the odd part about that sentence is that I found daft in a thesaurus (looking for ridiculous) and the term really appealed to me in this context even though it didn't come to me naturally.. on top of that 'dropping' a song is somewhat of a hip-hop jargon term rather than a universal term for releasing.. I know what you mean though about the ability of the quality control/illusion thing to be puzzling. I'll try rephrasing it if I can think of a way.

I've also realized that I have a very particular way of putting things together right from my head into a sentence that's very wordy or uses a lot of the same words/sentence structure so I've been trying to cut out like 40% of my words (which then gives rise to the abruptness..) Complex stuff!
posted by Firas 02 February | 01:55
my new pink button || Pardon me, good sir ...