Archive for November 28th, 2006

A question of answers

28 November 2006

Question: Why did Nirad Mudur not apply for a job in West Bengal?

Answer: For the same reason, Kwality did not launch Wall’s in Calcutta.

Writing is like sex. Yes, sex.

28 November 2006

A familiar question that comes up in a newspaper is, how can we get our reporters and correspondents to write well, and how can we get our sub-editors to chop and change poorly written stuff into something more readable, acceptable?

The answer is, “there is no one single way”.

Scientists and researchers may announce the most earthshaking discovery and invention day after day, but—thank god—there will never be a day when there will be an AP or Reuters story that says a magic pill or injection or machine has been discovered to write or sub better.

In other words, to write better, to edit better, we really ought to fall in love with words.You can do that only by reading more and soaking in more and absorbing more till the damn thing rubs off on you.

Reading at least one new (English) book a fortnight, reading one fine piece a day, going to the dictionary to find out meanings every now and then, solving crosswords, etc, are some ways the old fogeys will say you must follow.

The other way is to use the internet much better than we do. There are dozens of websites which offer online exercises, advice and more. Subscribe to free services like word-a-day which is provided by Anu Garg at wordsmith.org

Unless we develop a passion for words, we will never ever write better.

So, why is writing like sex? As the great Sol Stein—one of the top editors of all time said—good writing is writing that is pleasurable to both sides, the writer and the reader.

Otherwise, it is—you know what—masturbation and you might as well do it you know where..

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