Am I Steve Jobs? -
Quoted from the piece:
” Accuse me of overreading, but I propose a revision of the old adage: closed can beat open, but you have to be genius. Under normal conditions, in an unpredictable industry, and given regular levels of human error, open still beats closed. Stated a different way, a firm gets to be closed in exact proportion to its vision and design talent.”
Write like a designer -
Must read post this.
All of us have may have our methods of writing. And it is something that is largely unique to us, devised as it is through trial and error based on our own quirks and habits.
But the basics never go out of style. And fresh perspectives are always welcome, like applying a design process to writing.
Couple of insightful quotes from the post:
From William Zinsser’s On Writing Well:
Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy? … Simplify, simplify.
Then, Dieter Rams’s 10th Commandment for Good Design:
Good design is as little design as possible — Less is more – because it concentrates on the essential aspects and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
On the few occasions where I’ve talked to film students, one of the things I stress, in addition to learning your craft, is how you behave as a person. For the most part, our lives are about telling stories. So I ask them, “What are the stories you want people to tell about you?” Because at a certain point, your ability to get a job could turn on the stories people tell about you. The reason [then–Universal Pictures chief] Casey Silver put me up for [1998’s] Out of Sight after I’d had five flops in a row was because he liked me personally. He also knew I was a responsible filmmaker, and if I got that job, the next time he’d see me was when we screened the movie. If I’m an asshole, then I don’t get that job. Character counts. That’s a long way of saying, “If you can be known as someone who can attract talent, that’s a big plus. — Steven Soderbergh
Everything is more likable when it’s funny, even philanthropy. I’ve found that if I have an important message or idea I want to convey to my readers, the best way is to make the message as simple as possible and then saturate it with jokes about constipated goats, flamethrowers… things like that. — Mathew Inman, The Oatmeal
How does Holmes come upon his solution? He not only opens his mind to the possibility of the nonlinear and improbable, the very hallmarks of creativity, but he makes certain that he has that mind stocked with the most esoteric of knowledge. It’s easy to remember Holmes’s famous rant to Dr. Watson on the necessity of keeping a pristine mind attic (Holmes’s metaphor for the human mind). Far harder is recalling the major asterisk that is attached to that warning: A mind attic is only as useful as its contents and how you use them. If you store only the essentials, and follow only the most obvious path, you can be a t-crossing, i-dotting Scotland Yard detective bar none, but aren’t likely to advance much beyond that. Your mind will never be able to make those elusive connections that could lead you to identifying a fish as a killer if you don’t have the requisite knowledge base to begin with—and if you aren’t willing to risk the possibility of letting a killer go free while you take the time to figure things out. — The underrated creativity of Sherlock Holmes, The Atlantic.
Read The Guardian’s articles on Ten rules for writing fiction?
Tucked somewhere in those valuable insights is a link to the Lester Dent plot.
Lester Dent was a prolific pulp fiction author, best known as the creator and main author of the series of novels about the superhuman scientist and adventurer, Doc Savage.
This is a formula, a master plot, for any 6000 word pulp story. It has worked on adventure, detective, western and war-air. It tells exactly where to put everything. It shows definitely just what must happen in each successive thousand words.
A must read for its ingenuity :)