They drive me crazy!
Lists whisper to me in the darkness of night, they derail my imagination as I sit by the crackling fire reading a good book, and worst of all, scoff at my ineptness with scorn, so I’ve decided to get back at THEM by writing my own list of why I hate lists:
Reason 1 -They’re sneaky
When you read a list, you think you’re getting condensed easily readable information in a format you’re familiar with. All good things. But in fact, the structure of the information is authoritarian and rigid. There’s an ordering of ideas and an unwritten expectation layered between the lines that sneaks up on you.
Reason 2 – They’re never done
When you finish one list, you make another. That’s the way of life.
Reason 3 – They bite worse than bed bugs
Lying in wait they attack me at night and don’t let go. Their venom slithers through my veins and echoes in my heart. Can’t say it any more simply. They bite.
Interesting Lists for Writers:
All the above having been said, there are juicy good lists.
I was forwarded a great article, by Helen Dunmore, “What Will Survive Us Is Love”, (on the Brain Picking website) about lists for writers.
My favorite was Elmore Leonards:
- Never open a book with the weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”
- Keep your exclamation points under control!
- Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Same for places and things.
- Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.
“Ooooooooooh!” says me.
Thought Provoking Words
And on a final note, watching the survival saga of the publishing industry is a bit like entering a Roman forum. Fascinating, but bloody.
“A combined Penguin-Random House, which would control a quarter of the global book market, is a conglomerate designed to take on another giant, though it’s not exactly a fair fight. Because the new entity will only have about a twelfth of Amazon’s annual sales, most observers expect that this is just the beginning of a series of mergers — like those in the music business — that will take the Big Six publishers down to the Big Three and perhaps one day even the Big One.” (Adam Davidson, “How Dead is the Book Business?”, New York Times, 2012-11-13)
Now I’m off to have my tea leaves read with friends. Hope you stomp on your chore list and have a great weak.