Sunday Sharing #7: Rewilding your attention, artificial loneliness, why Taylor Swift is the perfect vehicle for talking about books and more

A cowboy rides along the rails and looks out onto the near desolate fictional state of New Austin in Red Dead Redemption 2. Screenshot from Jacob Geller’s video “Artificial Loneliness.”

There’s little to share on my end this week. The past seven days were filled with exciting ideas and plans but very little action. However, if those plans develop like I hope they will then I’ll have a wealth of things to write about in the near future.

One idea I’m entertaining is moving these weekly logs to a monthly basis so that the posts are meatier and more consistent in the volume of content. I’m also considering increasing the frequency of my newsletter. A definitive decision probably won’t be made until the new year, so stay tuned.

For now, though, here are 10 things from around the web I read/viewed that I felt were worth sharing…

Continue reading “Sunday Sharing #7: Rewilding your attention, artificial loneliness, why Taylor Swift is the perfect vehicle for talking about books and more”

Just the punctuation

Left: Just the punctuation from the opening of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Right: Just the punctuation from Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner.

I recently read Clive Thompson’s article on what he learnt about his writing by seeing only the punctuation. He also created a website for anyone to paste their writing into and see just the punctuation for their own analysis. You’ll even get a graphic similar to the one above. So that’s exactly what I did.

Seeing just the punctuation of your work — aside from looking pretty — is a useful tool for analysing your writing quirks. Here’s what Thompson realised about his own writing after seeing just his use of punctuation:

I use a lot of parenthetical statements. I also write very long ones. Looking at that graphic, I can see about seven parenthetical statements, one of which contains a hefty fourteen pieces of punctuation, including an internal colon: ( “ ‘ — “ . — . , ‘ , : , , . ). That’s a really long, complex parenthetical.

So what’s going on here? It made me realize I cram my writing with lots of digressions; which is probably related to my thirsty desire to seem so very smart and clever; which itself stems from some intellectual neediness I am able to keep partially — but not entirely — in check; and which also likely explains why I often chain many many phrases together with semicolons, as if I were some Victorian dude peering through his steampunk monocle while cranking out pay-per-word pieces for The Strand. (But I digress.)

To get a graphic as lengthy as the one above, you need to post around 6,000 words. So I took four lengthy pieces I’ve written between 2014 and now to see what I might learn from my own writing. I also wanted to know how much would have changed.

Continue reading “Just the punctuation”

Sunday Sharing #2: Seeing only the punctuation, dealing with rejection as a writer, the cult-like world of #PublishingHopefuls and more

Left: Just the punctuation from the opening of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Right: Just the punctuation from Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner.

At least until the end of the month I’m going to continue with these lists of things I enjoyed reading/viewing from the week that I think others might enjoy, too. I can already foresee selecting some highlights for this month’s newsletter will be a challenge.

This week’s 10 things I felt were worth sharing:

  1. Clive Thompson on what he learnt about his writing by seeing only the punctuation. He also made a website where you can post your own writing to see just the punctuation. Currently in the process of typing up a post where I analyse my own punctuation.
  1. Jeff Bens advises on how to write a good fight scene.
Continue reading “Sunday Sharing #2: Seeing only the punctuation, dealing with rejection as a writer, the cult-like world of #PublishingHopefuls and more”